Thursday, 20 June 2013

First swarm of the year

On Monday morning bees swarmed from a top-bar kept Marion's garden so John and I went over there to help her collect it.   The swarm was on shrub adjoining the road and so was very accessible.  

After a bit of skilful gardening they easily dropped into the collecting box and after half an hour on an outspread sheet were ready to go - with only a few stragglers left behind. 

 John and I delivered them to the allotment where they were transferred into a Warré hive.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Meet the Bees!

We held another training course recently which included a “meet the bees” session in the Allotment apiary. The weather was warm and sunny - and this was reflected in the the mood of the bees. All the hives were opened and inspected including the bees that Phil Chandler had rescued.

The afternoon finished off with the transfer of a colony from a plastic flowerpot into one of our new top-bar hives. Astonishingly they had successfully over-wintered in this unconventional hive and, as you can see from this video, were in great need of more space. Within half an hour all of them had settled into their new accommodation.

Many thanks to Jackie Logue for the videos.

The Barefoot Beekeeper in Todmorden

The much-anticipated visit of Phil Chandler took place last month. Known as "The Barefoot Beekeeper", Phil believes in allowing the bees to follow their natural instincts, with minimal intervention, and is much more concerned about conservation than big honey harvests.  
He talked about how he had developed these ideas into practice at a social evening to which local beekeepers had been invited.  All of us found it a truly inspiring occasion.

The following day Phil took a look at some of our hives - starting with the top-bar in the allotment apiary.

Removing unused comb to encourage new comb-building

Phil pointed out how the bees had created a channel to be able to move about the hive whilst conserving heat.

But in another top-bar hives the bees were in a very poor condition and barely alive - only stirring when stimulated by the warmth of our breath.  Phil advised feeding them with sugar.
He then created a hive from a box lined with polystyrene and cut pieces of comb to fit.  We then spent a considerable amount of time putting all the bees that showed any sign of life into iy.
 Lastly he collected the queen in a plastic tube and transferred her to the new "hive". 

You can find out much more about Phil at