Tuesday 17 September 2013

Natural beekeeper training at Dodnaze Community Centre

Bee Friendly Collective hosted a basic training weekend at Dodnaze Community Centre, Hebden Bridge last weekend 14th and 15th September.

We planned to meet the bees at Redacre Allotments in Mytholmroyd on Sunday afternoon but unfortunately the weather was too stormy to do this so we will re-arrange for a kinder day.

We had a very enjoyable weekend with lovely cake made by Alan and Kerry, and flapjacks and tea made by John. During the weekend a nucleus was formed of people who want to keep bees around the Dodnaze site. We hope soon that this will come to fruition and wish them every success and may their colony grow.

This was a free training, but we asked for donations for the charity Bees Abroad and we will be sending them a cheque for £50. Many thanks to all those who donated. The aim of Bees Abroad is to provide education and technical advice in Beekeeping and suitable business skills.

Thank you to Dodnaze Community Centre Committee who provided the venue free of charge.

Bee Friendly Collective Todmorden offers training to community groups and individuals around Todmorden and further afield if needed. Sometimes we need to pay for a venue and on those occasions we make a small charge to participants with concessions where appropriate.

The training we give is based on low intervention and beekeeping for the bees and not honey production.

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 http://www.biobees.com/

Saturday 16 March 2013

comic relief


what easier way to raise some money - that will make a difference - than under the umbrella of comic relief
under the shelter of a todmorden outdoor market stall - kindly given
we - buzzing bakers - sold fresh baked fodder

thanks to the generosity of local people who bought our baked goodies and popped donations in the red nose boxes we - collectively - raised £115.70 for comic relief

Sunday 10 February 2013

burcos and topbars

extracting honey from free formed comb is a challenge... a long process, sticky, waiting game

but, there is another way
recommended to the group
the burco boiler and BBQ trivet

tried and tested by sue
here's sue's account of a job well done

Honey extraction from wild comb
Using the group’s Burco boiler, I have successfully extracted a bit of honey from comb on Warre bars. The comb, very thin and delicate, emerged mostly intact and can be re-used by the bees, so that’s a result.
I put water in the boiler to just above the tap level, set the knob to one and a bit and stood the first bar upside down in a lidded bucket which I put in the water. With the Burco lid kept on, it took about 3 days for the uncapped comb to completely empty of honey and the comb itself softened and bent over and broke in half. The second bar, I enclosed in a hinged BBQ wire griddle inside the bucket to give extra support to the comb – this worked well and at the end the emptied comb quickly cooled and firmed up again. I rinsed the combs to remove the last stickiness and hope to make them available to the bees again this year.
I would think that comb which is not so new, would stand up to the process without extra support. It was quite a painless process and not messy. I would suggest for future extractions standing the upside down bars on something like a wire microwave trivet so the bars don’t end up sitting in the honey.

Monday 28 January 2013

Bee Friendly Collective AGM

We will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 7th February 
at 7.30pm in the Oddfellows Hall, Oxford Street, Todmorden, OL14 5PU.

Exciting AGM business and (even more exciting) cakes.

All present, past and potential members will be most welcome!