Friday, 19 July 2019

Grantham District spend a morning with St. Sebastian's E.Y.F.S.

One of our members was a former teacher at St Sebastian's School in Grantham and was asked if she could go in to class and talk to the children about bees. Jenny asked if I could go along with her to support as she is new to beekeeping and I was more than happy to lend a hand.

We started the morning off in class talking to the children about the importance of bees and what they do and also showing them some of the equipment that we use as beekeepers. The children were all very well behaved and had some great questions to ask us. (Image blurred for data protection.)

Jenny lives literally just around the corner from the school so after having a chat with the children and talking to them about respecting the bees  we then got them suited up and took them around to see a real live hive. the Children were divided into groups and there was a summer house right near the hives, (just to the left in the photo you can see the corner of this) where the children could safely observe us doing a hive inspection if they didnt feel confident about being very close to the bees.

As is usually the way with children they were a joy to be around and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being close to the bees and seeing the eggs and larvae. They even got to see some bees hatching out and a close up look at the queen just before we marked her green. (Please note...childrens faces hidden for data protection)

It was a wonderful day followed by a lovely e-mail from the teacher thanking us and hoping that the experience can be repeated in the future. We also got some wonderful cards from the children thanking us for visiting them....

Amazing artwork and writing for 5 year olds...wouldn't you agree?? 

I am looking forward to being able to carry out more visits like this in the future.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Bee Day, held by 'Foston Conservation Group'. (6/07/19)

On the 6th July 2019 The District took a trip out to Foston village for a lovely afternoon!

Two of our Members are part of the Foston Conservation Group and got in touch asking if the District would be able to come over and support for the afternoon.

It was the first time the conservation group had held an event like this so they weren't sure how much response they would get from the locals but as a District that likes to support their members as much as possible and always wanting to get more information out to the public in General we were more than happy to attend!!

bee suits, bee lifecycle, bee threats, bee photos, honey
Plenty of visuals and info for the public to look at.

Observation hive. see inside the beehive. queen, larvae,eggs
The Observation Hive as usual raised lots of interest.

Virtual hive. see inside the beehive
The Virtual hive set up and ready to be explored.

The event was well attended by the local community and inside there were activities for the children and boards up about wildlife and how to help them in your gardens.  h
There were also hot and cold drinks, cake and a raffle.

Everyone who attended came out to visit us and as always the observation hive got a lot of attention...on this particular day not only from people but also from a lot of other honey bees who obviously thought they could get a free the end of the afternoon it was a bit of a battle to get the hive into the car without a few hitchhikers!!

It was a lovely community event at which we were made to feel very welcome.

Thank you to Simon and Janet Bray for the invite, tea, cake and wine!!

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

2019 Course Practical

With Photos by John Perring of John Perring Photography.

For the last few years Grantham District Beekeepers have run a beginners course and 2019 was no exception. Over the years we have tweaked things slightly to make it run more smoothly. 

The biggest change we have incorporated into the course is the addition of a ‘practical’ session.
The practical session is really to get people into live beehives but it also gives them the chance to do some frame building, get up close and personal with the equipment used, ask any lingering questions that have surfaced from attending the theory sessions and have the chance to see what being surrounded by the bees feels, hears and looks like.

This year with so many on the course 4 dates were given and luckily for us only one of those was rained off!

With so many people who had little knowledge of beekeeping we always make sure there are two knowledgeable people on site for health and safety reasons and so this year I was joined by Frank, Sarah and John at different sessions.

So the practical starts off at my house where we go over the makeup of the hive and talk about all the different hive parts and discuss any scenarios that may pop up throughout our time as beekeepers. The latter is mostly led by the course participants with questions that they have and it works well as a great discussion. During this time we obviously have a drink and cake!!

Frank discussing the different parts of
the hive.
Frank and I have built up quite a good camaraderie
over the years and aren't afraid to point out when
one says something wrong...or has a different
We are more than happy to go into more detail if
someone would like to go into a topic in more

After a couple of hours discussion then it time to sort out suits and to go visit the hives!!

This year was a little more exciting as it was the first time we could use our own District apiary for the course! It really is a perfect location...roomy enough for everyone to see with a great shed for smoker lighting demonstrations and to go through different equipment you need at the hive.

This is often quite never racking for people who have not
been in hives before...was a little nerve wracking
for Frank too when he remembered his veil
was split....nothing we couldn't fix with a bit
of duct tape though!!
Also on hand were super boxes with drawn and undrawn comb and with and without castellations along with other spare hive equipment, feeders, different hive tools available and queen marking kit.

The district hives are a lovely temperament.
They had built up nicely to let the new beekeepers
see what they will be dealing with next year with a
strong over wintered colony.
Lovely brood patterns for everyone to observe
and a lovely looking queen to be marked.
As is always the case the bees certainly didn’t disappoint !! The queens were spotted at every session which was great for these up and coming beekeepers and then the different sessions gave us different scenarios such as marking the queen, swarm procedure and feeding the bees.

The absence of a blanking board gave us chance to show
totally naturally built comb and how the bees like to
bridge any gaps that may be left by mistake!
Luckily the nice calm colony were perfect hosts
whilst we removed this comb!
Showing the perfect brood pattern we
had discussed before visiting the hives!
Busy bees going about there day!
And this was the point that the first queen cell was
So it was at this point that we then started looking for the queen
in order to carry out swarm control.
Luckily a marked queen is much easier to spot,
even amongst this many bees!!
Once spotted the queen was safely put into a queen clip
and the hive split.
Frames transferred to a new hive....
And the queen introduced back to her now remarkably
smaller colony
The we went through the original hive checking
all the frames and taking off any extra queen cells!
Everyone quickly learnt there is never a dull moment with beekeeping and everyone who attended was thoroughly engaged in the experience and asked many questions about different scenarios that could maybe arise!!

Then it was time to go back and have a go at frame building...this is a time for more questions to be asked...more cake to be eaten and also a few laughs as people try to fathom out where they went wrong and how many pins should be used!

A completed frame!!

Third time lucky??

All of the practical sessions were great days and I would just like to thank all the 2019 course participants for not just their enthusiasm to the practical sessions but for choosing to take this step with Grantham District.

I would also like to thank Sarah and Frank for helping out with the practicals and John for helping out and taking the photos.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

First District Apiary Inspection

 So 30/03/19 dawned bright and beautiful and at last gave us a chance to inspect the bees on the district apiary.
Due to when we collected the bees this was the first chance we’d had to have a good look through them and assess their temperament.
We had no idea what temperment the
bees would have, how they had over
wintered and if the queen was laying.
We have been lucky..on opening the hive
the smell was wonderful the brood pattern
perfect and the buzz content.
Eggs, Larvae and brood were seen
 in both hives in all stages.

Sorting out he frames.

There were a few issues with the brood boxes as there were too many frames and a couple of super frames in some so we had a good sort through and took out the extra frames and replaced the super frames with standard brood frames. There was a lovely smell emitted from the hive and the bees remained calm throughout. 

Queen Excluders on!
The hives are wooden Nationals on standard brood. The queen excluders were put on the hives to keep the queens laying in the brood box and the hives number marked 1 and 2. Records of the inspection were written up after inspection was finished.

Some frames need switching out and we will do this in due course over the summer months.
In short, we couldn’t have asked for nicer bees to show to our course attendees and members over the summer. Now we just pray for some nice weather so the bees can get out regularly and collect there nectar and pollen!!

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Grantham District Apiary

In August 2017 after a long walk over the fields, flagging down a man in a tractor and a lengthy talk with a local farmer Grantham Districts dream of its own Apiary became a reality.

After discussions and meetings on what we would use the site for, (primarily educational purposes) hives were ordered for the new Apiary. The Farmer was also kind enough to offer us a brick shed with brick floor and tiled roof as a secure space to store any equipment that we would need to have on hand.

The shed was full of rubbish but it wasn't
too long of a job to get it emptied and
swept out.

A smart new shutter made for the window
and we are good to go!

The idea was that we would house our new hives in the summer of 2018 with any swarms that were collected by the district swarm collectors but with the beast from the east and then the blazing summer that followed it was a rare year of very few swarms about and so the summer passed us by without any bees being housed….leave it to the bees to mess up your well laid plans!!

Then…in October we received an e-mail from a Beekeeper who was giving up, this was not one of our members but the District quickly took the opportunity to put some bees in the apiary and so on a rainy October morning in 2018 the bees were collected and placed in situ to see the winter through, and so Grantham District Apiary was well and truly on its way!!

The hives housed on their palettes, plenty of
room for inspections and swarm control. 
So the winter has now passed and I have been checking occasionally whilst out and about…I could see movement and activity at the entrances….the bees had made it through the winter…first hurdle over…..

Just on their way out!

On its way back!!
..... however I know never to get too excited…you just don’t know what you’re going to find when you open a hive from one week to the next…let alone after the winter!!!!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Beginners’ bee keeping course 2019

Lincolnshire Beekeepers' Association
(Reg. Charity No. 500360)

Grantham District 

Are you interested in keeping bees?

Or just keen to explore the idea?

We will be running a 2019

Beginners’ bee keeping course

Mondays :
 March 11th, 18th, 25th 
April 1st & 8th 

plus a weekend practical session.

Cost: £70
(which includes a year’s associate membership of Grantham District LBKA!)

Five, weekly evening sessions about the history of beekeeping and how to manage a colony of bees, control swarms and treat for pests and diseases followed by a practical session where you will learn how to make a bee hive and look inside at the bees at work.

Ideal Christmas, birthday or Valentine present, (gift vouchers available!)

Contact Catherine Sheen on 07860 692529

or to book your place