Black Bees

I was called out to a swarm at Pevensey Bay, which is right on the beach here in East Sussex. It was in someone's garden, and they had no idea where it had come from, and didn't know of any beekeepers locally. I do know of one nearby, but hers had not swarmed. The bees …

Swaaaarms

One can never tell how many swarms there are going to be for any given season, and I was surprised to see so many people on the Association's list...swarms are deemed the sign of "failure" and bad management, yet here are tens of people wanting them to repopulate their apiaries after losing colonies over winter. …

First swarm!

It was a beautiful warm day on Wednesday, and I noticed an awful lot of bees flying around in my carport where I store all my hive equipment. I am checking the apiary twice a day for swarms at the moment and on my sweep back round, I saw this: I presume it came from …

Spring growth

We have had some lovely weather here over the last couple of days, and the bees have been making the most of it. I am checking my apiary for swarms twice a day now, although all the hives have quite a bit of growing to do. Here is the hive I nadired last week - …

Hive post-mortem

It is always really important to conduct a post-mortem on any hive losses, as it's a vital part of our learning curve with beekeeping. Sadly in many circles, losing hive is regarded as a "failure" which, if you are observing and watching and monitoring your bees rather than working towards a homogenised collection of colonies, …

Foundationless frames

I don't use foundation in my frames as I prefer to let my bees build their own comb. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the combs are essentially the bees' internal organs, where they raise their young, store their food, rest, groom, and carry out their communications. Sheets of foundation (beeswax with …

Hive Failure

I went to check on my bees today and see if they were flying, as it is quite mild and the wind has dropped. There was activity with all of them apart from the very late swarm I collected in August. I noticed my stick entrance block had been dislodged so I presumed a mouse …