Self Sufficient Living

Swarm Collection 01752 516619

City Bees & Beekeeping

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Bees are essential to the survival of humanity If bees disappear from the earth, humans only have four more years to live. "No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more humans" Albert Einstein (1949)

So if you come across a swarm of bees please give me a call I will rescue them if I can!
Do not attempt to catch them yourself, this often results in the destruction of the queen and the death of the colony

During the summer I have swarms of bees for sale £65 Ply 516619

Swarm of honey bees in a hedge

In the warmer months honey bees ( Apis Mellifera Mellifera) may swarm and while this may look impressive they are normally docile at this time provided they are not provoked. Usually the queen bee will alight on a branch/ fence / wall and the rest of the colony will form a hanging ball or cluster around her, scout bees will then search for a more permanent home.

Do not get confused as there are around 250 different species of bee living in Britain and 22 types of Bumble Bee, from the solitary mining and masonry bee which excavate a small hole, often in your lawn or wall and leaf cutter and carpenter bees. These are harmless to people  often only living 8 weeks or so.

Beekeeping is both fascinating and frustrating but hugely rewarding, as Brother Adam once said to a beekeeper of 5 years experience "how wonderful you have nearly everything still to learn". Well we now have 12 hives as we have been called out for swarms. We have kindly been offered a place away from our house near Dartmoor where we can establish an out apiary later in the summer. We have collected eleven swarms so far this spring 9 prime swarms with a mated queen and 2 cast swarms with virgin queens.

If you are thinking of keeping bees your local beekeeping association can advise you on the requirements and help you with beginner’s courses and practical advice and help.

Our hives are beautiful quality handmade red cedar by a Peter and Sandra here in the West Country; they need no chemical preservatives and last for many years. If you want to speak to them regarding ordering a hive or speak to Pete about Beekeeping ring 0164386109

Recommended reading 'Beekeeping for Dummies' by Howland Blackiston available on Amazon is a really good read for beginners if somewhat American.

The recommended essentials are, having a space that is south or south east facing( not absolutely essential) sheltered from strong winds, located so it doesn't cause a nuisance to your neighbours or passers by.

National Hive

There are many types of bee hive the National,
WBC, Langstroth, Smith, Dadant, and Commercial
all which their advantages and disadvantages, I have decided on the National as it is one of the most readily available and as space is at a premium
it is the smallest. This winter we have begun making candles from surplus wax, so we will be able to see when we get the power cuts.

super frame assembly

I have been making up the frames for the hives, eleven per brood or super, the brood frames are for the queen to lay her eggs in, the super is for the worker bees to put the nectar in which will eventually become honey . The brood fames go in above the floor with a queen excluder above (a mesh device, see below) with slots in it just large enough for worker bees to fit through, but too small for the queen, this prevents the queen from gaining entry into the super frames and laying her eggs.

Below is a varoa floor this is a mesh floor with a removable drawer type floor that can be slid out for inspection and cleaning it is normally painted white so any varoa mite that drop off fall through the mesh and can be spotted easily on the floor and removed to inspect the colony for varoa a kitchen fork can be used to break open some drone cells and look for any mite on the larvae.

Queen Excluder
Hive wire floor

We now have twenty hives so far this year, after collecting several swarms this spring.
Also a twinstock nuclus hive for starting new colonies.