Musings on the 9th March…..

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Posted by James | Posted in Beehives, Beekeeping, Bees, Gardening | Posted on 09-03-2010

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I have had this feeling now for some time that all this could be completely hot air. I have created a lovely blog (well I think so!) and twitter pages, I have commented on forums sites about being a beginner beekeeper and even gone so far as to order a hive – just heard news that my flat packed hive arrives on Friday, hurrah! – but there is one slight problem………where on earth am I going to get some bees from!

From my understanding there are three ways you can get bees. Firstly you can put an empty hive near your house and hope that there might be a passing swarm that may be vaguely attracted to the colour, aspect, size, smell and price of the lovely empty hive that has appeared on the horizon. This is one way and is basically a complete shot in the dark though could be worth a shot as to be honest, short of the effort required to simply take a hive and plant it on the ground somewhere, it doesn’t sound like there is a lot to do (seriously though I have heard that you should rub the empty hive with propolis (the gluey type substance that bees produce to fill holes in hives) as bees will be attracted to this smell.

There is another method which is to give a part of your hive to the local association and they will “catch” a swarm for you but this is pretty much a first come, first serve type of scenario so now real guarantee of getting a bee – not to mention the fact that you have absolutely no idea what the colony will be like – imagine if you got a really aggressive colony of bees, you would be pretty gutted. One of the positives however is that it should be an effective colony and therefore  you have a pretty good chance that it will produce some good honey for you.

The last option is to buy a nucleus of bees from another beekeeper. This is a set of 5 frames of bees, complete with brood and a queen. This is a guaranteed option to get you some bees but obviously you will have to pay for the privilege and usually this will be in the region of £100-£150 though I have been told that until a few years ago you could pick Nucs up for free! Such is the demand from people like me!

Well, i have decided to run two hives this year and I will ask my association to try to get me a swarm and I will also be buying a nucleus. By chance in the latest copy of “Bee Craft”, which you get for free being a member of an association, I saw an advert for a nucleus bees locally, did a little bit of research on the beekeeper, and then made contact. Yesterday it was confirmed that I could get some bees from him but would be waiting till the end of April, beginning of May before I could get my hands on them……..ho hum – I hope this will be enough time to get a jar of honey from them!

So this has so far been an exciting week – my hive is due to be delivered and I have ordered some bees!!

On a gardening note I have now sown my tomatoes (did you know it is the bumble bees that pollinate these and not honey bees?) – doing some black tomatoes from @seedparade this year which I have never tried before – the chilli peppers have yet to germinate which I am a little concerned about……and tomorrow morning is my first of the early starts – 6am for me – and I start with planting the rhubarb up having been given some crowns from my father. I will also put some potatoes in pots and do a 2nd sucession sowing of onions and shallots…….happy days.

Comments (3)

April or May for bees for me too, seems like an eternity :-(
We grew “black cherry” last year, they were OK but we preferred “sungold” and “gardeners delight” for flavour. I always remember my grandfather pollinating the tomatoes with a rabbits tail, minus the rabbit :-)

Quite interested to see how the “black cherry” ones work out actually along with the “black plums”. I have also planted some “Gardeners Delight” and “Super Marmanade” which were both superb last year. Really enjoyable just sowing it all while relaxing watching the TV. Thanks for commenting Jim, good to hear from you. Like the sound of the rabbits tail!

Hi James,

Good to hear you are making some progress with your beekeeping, and I bet you are excited about your hive arriving this weekend!

I may be a bit late for this, but did you know that as well as getting the funky Beehaus from Omlet, you can also order the bees from there as well? – http://bit.ly/9GGmSq – They charge between £80 and £150 for a colony.

Best of luck with your beekeeping,
Craig

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