I think it has been pretty well acknowledged that this year has been pretty shocking from a weather perspective. I keep hearing stories of
it being an historic year for swarms and an historic year, in the opposite direction, for honey yields. I remember in my first year having a particularly “feisty” hive that I was quite afraid of but I also remember when I opened them up on a slightly windy day or one that was a little bit cold – never a good thing.
Therefore, considering all of this, it is with rare joy that I today write about the day this weekend when there wasn’t a lot of wind, no clouds let alone rain to speak of and the bees in my hive calm. It was the opposite of the perfect storm and was sheer bliss while I worked away checking they were all okay.
I tend to check my bees later on in the afternoon on very hot days, as it was on Sunday (at 32 degrees our hottest this year to date I understand), so to avoid becoming an oven inside the bee suit. The feeling of a bead of sweat making its way down your nose is not nice in the confines of the bee suit and so I try to avoid this at all costs!
Fortunately I have a healthy hive, no signs of varroa – which should be looked at about now – and all is good as the Queen evidently starts to
slow herself down. All in all bliss.
Some of you may know that a couple of weeks ago I was confused by a situation I had with one of my hives. I had picked up a good sized swarm from a tree and put it in one of my poly hives. However, these hives are not brilliant for housing swarms as they have an open mesh floor (not great for stopping swarms from absconding apparently) and therefore I put a queen excluder on the bottom so the queen wouldn’t be going anywhere.
As I was told by the owner of the hives that this was the first time the colony had swarmed I was confident it would have been a mated queen. However, a couple of weeks ago there no eggs and obviously no larvae or capped brood. There was lots of capped stores from where I had been feeding them but little else and I simply couldn’t see the queen anywhere. I came to the opinion that I must have had a virgin queen in there and my queen excluder may have been stopping her have her maiden flight. My lovely beekeeping friends on Facebook and Twitter agreed and so I took the queen excluder off.
Low and behold I went in yesterday evening, just over two weeks later, to see three frames of lovely eggs, larvae and sealed brood. She must have been desperate to get out and get mated!
Hive manipulations and the decision making associated is often surprisingly stressful but this seems to have worked out well. I just hope she has enough time to get it together for the slow down in a month or so. Fingers crossed.
This is the second of Dolores’ books that I am reviewing as I enjoyed the first – If I were a Bee – so much. This is another example of a great beekeeping book for children but comes from a slightly different angle; cooking.
I have always believed that Children will be far more likely to enjoy food if they take part in the growing of vegetables and fruit and this remains true here in this book. It really will teach children about honey and its many uses in cooking.
This book looks as fantastic as Dolores’ other books which are illustrated by herself. They are bright and colourful which means they are really attractive to read through. What I really like about this book though is that it is so personal. Dolores dedicates the book to her Grandchildren and promptly names all the recipe’s after them like the delicious sounding Will’s Beelicious Blueberry Pancakes – oh my life, I cannot wait to make these!
It is also lovely to see that Ellie, one of her grandchildren, has actually hand written some of these recipes which are then reproduced in the book. A really nice touch.
Should you like the book, you can purchase it through our store on here for £7 with 10% of all proceeds going towards our two selected beekeeping charities Bees Abroad and Bees for Development who do sterling work for beekeepers in Africa.
I have been having a play recently with a new Social Media phenomenon – Follow me on Pintrest. I really enjoy the userbility of it and the graphical nature of the site. It is true when you hear people say that you will go on there with the intention of staying a couple of minutes but you will genuinely end up staying on there for hours…..and hours……and hours!
Anyway, with its bias towards visual posts I decided to have a go at my first ever infographic. If you haven’t heard of these previously they are basically a visual way of showing information which makes it all look attractive and interesting. Therefore I had a go with an Infographic showing the story of how I got my book – From A to Bee – published. I hope you like it and I will try to do some others soon.
Here is the latest excerpt from Iain’s guest blog series charting his aims to build a socially responsible candle company working with disabled people. In this one Iain talks about the joys of selling his candles in London and the thrills and spills of getting his product to market using the London traffic network! To find out more about his project you can read about it here on my Guest Beekeeping Blog Page. I hope you enjoy his latest post….he is on an amazing journey
For a few weeks now we have had a pitch at Greenwich craft market, and over those weeks we have been experimenting with the best way to transport our candles to the market to sell.
As it turns out the oldest mode of bringing goods to market in London has proved to be the easiest, quickest and most pleasant. Read the rest of this entry »
I was seven weeks into my ten week beekeeping course when my tutor said that some people will go through these fantastically informative courses, open up a beehive for the first time and realize they cannot stand bees.
For that reason I would recommend these one day courses which involve a little bit of theory and generally involve seeing a working beehive. You will get to put on the rather attractive looking beesuit, see a smoker at work and probably get to handle some bees. This way you can work out if you actually enjoy this hobby before embarking on a full blown training course. A great way to build up some enthusiasm
As some of you may have seen I am slowly but surely getting a little shop organised through this website. I am really concentrating on getting items that are just that little bit different to normal and what you cannot buy elsewhere.
For example I am very excited to have started to work with Guilia (Italian for Julia) an artist who works in a local village farm shop about 10 minutes from where I live. I occasionally have to drive to a meeting nearby and I stop by to pick up some fresh produce. It turns out she is an illustrator and designs gift cards. As a result she is starting to design a bee character to form the basis of some gift cards for me. Here is a great video of her creating the first character. What do you think?
You can find out more about her and her artwork here
There will also be some exiting news soon about a venture into candle making in association with Iain at Lucenarium Candles. Read his story on the Guest Blogging Page
The thing I like about Hampton Court Flower Show is that it is open to all and therefore Jo and I get to take the boys to explore the joys that the gardens behold; not to mention the many activities that are layer on everywhere for children. Therefore my motivations at Hampton Court are two fold; looking at the beekeeping potential for the show and also looking around while keeping one eye out on the children. Read the rest of this entry »
As many of you know, despite now being an author myself (From A to Bee) I also like to spread the word about other beekeeping books and hence I do plenty of beekeeping book reviews. However rarely do I get the opportunity to review Childrens’ beekeeping books and so I always enjoy receiving them in the post.
Being a bit of a big child myself I love reading beekeeping books that are aimed at children and Dolores’ book is absolutely on the money. Beekeeping for children needs to be several things in my mind but bright, fun and exciting are up there are primary objectives. If I Were a Bee does this on many levels as you can witness from its front cover. It immediately stands out and wants you to open it up.
If you like the review and feel you would like to buy the book you can do so now (underneath here!) or later at the end of the review. Buy now!