Monday, 6 August 2012

Bees on the move 2!

The colony in the national hive in the Garden apiary has a chequered history this year - at times extremely aggressive at others sadly morose.  Wondering if the position of the hive - becoming hemmed in by willow plantings - might be affecting them a move to the  Red Acre site in Mytholmroyd for a short "holiday" seemed a good idea.*

Carol, Adrian, Radhe and John survey their handiwork.

* Bees must be moved more than three miles or their sense of direction will take them back to the old site.  This move means that we can bring them back to Todmorden in a few weeks time.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Anniversary hive check

Our second anniversary was marked by checking some of our new hives in the Meadow apiary.

The first task was to sort out the Warre hive where the bees had built comb down through both boxes - cheese wire was used to slice it off above the bottom box.
Assessing the situation

Comb removed from the hive

Preparing to rebuild the hive

Andy collects a swarm!

We then inspected the National hive where we found queen cells - unsure of whether the hive was preparing to swarm or had already done so we left well alone.

Opening the National

Newly-drawn comb with queen cells

More queen cells

Lastly we opened up the Top-Bar hive.  Surprisingly, given how docile the other hives had been, the bees in the Top-Bar were quite bad-tempered.  So with the weather worsening we fed them, closed the hive and retreated.
Top-Bar comb

Mary's just been stung!

It was quite noticeable in all the hives how low the honey stores were - the bad weather has obviously affected the bees severely.  Let's hope things improve from now on - meanwhile, we'll keep feeding them.

Friday, 13 July 2012


two years ago today
on a wet 13th July
our first two nucs arrived

July 2012
a wet friday 13th
bee friendly collective
bee friendly bee keeping
with 17 hives: warres, topbars, and nationals kept the Rose hive way without queen excluders and foundation

happy anniversary!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bees on the move!

New Cell in Mytholmroyd

Having collected a number of swarms over the last month or so we're in the happy position of having more bees than we can cope with at the moment.  So it's been decided to loan a colony to the newly-formed Mytholmroyd cell based at Red Acre allotments. Being more than three miles away this is a straightforward move for the bees.

The bees were closed up on Saturday evening ready for the move on Sunday morning.

Loading the hive into Mari's car.

Red Acre is a great site for bees with a open, southern aspect and lots of forage nearby - especially Himalayan balsam, although some of the allotment holders seemed less than enthusiastic about this!

Arriving at Red Acre.

Th Red Acre cell has created an excellent apiary site - fenced for security with a 
wood-chip floor making it easy to move around the hive.

John setting up the hive.

Finishing touches.  
As soon as everything was set up Radhe opened the entrance and 
the bees quickly emerged to explore their new surroundings.
Radhe releasing the bees.
Carol. Sue, Mari, Radhe and Frances.
We wish the Mytholmroyd cell much joy and great success in their new endeavour!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Beautiful swarm

Swarms all over this year

This is the beautiful swarm we collected from the allotment.

Just thinking how to collect it without too much disturbance

Its a four person job. 

One to hold the collecting box, one to cut the branch, one to lower the branch with bees into the box and of course someone to document the occassion

 Leaving now to catch the stragglers as they are guided in

 Then simply place them into one of our new Warre hives

What a well behaved swarm - job well done

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Todmorden Agricultural Show

a wet one
but spirits and enthusiasm weren't dampened
on the contrary
we had a great day out
sloshing about
in the todmorden lido

alan in fighting spirits

a great buzz in our tent - that we shared with ferret lovers

a massive thank you to all who braved the weather to come to the Todmorden Agricultural Show
it was splendid, as usual

and thank you Mr Rigg, Ralph, and Barbara for bringing honey to sell

a summary of march - june

march - and the weather was unexpectedly HOT
bee nucs that we were expecting to collect in may were ready for collection
so all hands on deck to prep the new warre and topbar hives - 8 in total

and from that time on, it seems to have been non-stop bee related activity

establishing the new meadow apiary

checking hives

collecting swarms - too preoccupied to take photos

and changing our group name to
Bee Friendly Collective

we've delivered 2 bee friendly keeping courses
and now have 16 bee friendly hives
in 3 apiaries and back gardens
in and around Todmorden

Monday, 13 February 2012

We no longer have an apiary at the Unitarian Church

Twice the top bar hive at the Unitarian Church has been interfered with.
Twice bars, with comb, have been strewn across the floor.
The 2nd time this happened was in minus temperatures with snow all around.
To leave them, even with a padlock around the hive, we felt, would be too much of a risk to take; as well as an unnecessary one.
A new site was found
Less than a mile away
3 miles for 3 weeks, as is the normal rule, was not considered necessary for a hive move at this time of year. Both our local Bee Inspector and members of the Halifax Beekeeping Association (some with more than 30 years of experience) said:
move them now, straight to the new site; now whilst it is cold and before the queen starts laying.
So that’s what did, on a bitterly cold and icy Saturday morning.

Moving a TBH is more than a one-person job
We were 6
Chipping in together – as we always do

while some cleared the new site in readyness
others removed  the securing pins
and strapped down the lid
carrying the bee hive through the icy grave yard

in the van
and off to the new site
a hillside site
with a retaining wall
some 5 feet tall

the wall  overcome
the hillside was next

but all worth it

final adjustments

the bees in their new site
with views of heartshead pike

a smashing spot
south facing
and lots of forage – even now. Gorse blooming just a few feet away.

job done
marion listens in
still buzzing
let’s hope the trauma’s they’ve had
matter not in the long run
and that they’ll pull through into spring
and beyond

we returned to the warm
beetroot soup and parsnip cake - thanks Judy

Friday, 10 February 2012

More training

Beekeeping for Beginners
The next training course is for those new to beekeeping. It will run over three Saturdays in March - 10th, 17th and 24th - at the New Oddfellows Hall in Todmorden, with a final practical session on Sunday 25th at Towneley Hall (weather permitting).

The course will be delibered by David Rayner - beekeeper at Towneley Hall and is free to residents in the Todmorden area.

If you would like to book a place send us an email NOW!

Natural Bee Products

The third course in the programme will look at Natural Bee Products (food ‘n’ health) – the processing and use of honey, propolis and pollen. It will be delivered by Beecredible's own Marilyn Browne – dates and details to be confirmed so watch this space.

An inspiring afternoon

A  Warré hive.

David demonstrating how to wax the top bars.

David in action!
David's combination of inspiration and ingenious practicality sent us all out into the snow keen to get into the world of the Warré hive and, with funds from the Jubilee People's award, we have already ordered eight of them.  Roll on Spring!

Warre hive training by David Heaf

We had a very successful training day with David Heaf and a good turn out despite the dreadful weather.

David brought a Warre hive and other equipment and explained the theory and the practise of using Warre hives as a sustainable and bee friendly way of keeping bees.

David has written a book on the subject of bee friendly bee keeping which is detailed and finely indexed. This is available from Northern Bee Books.

David translated Abbé Warré's book Beekeeping for All and has made it available as a free pdf download. 

He talked about his own modifications and the simplicity of construction which makes this type of hive very accessible and affordable for all.