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What do I do if a swarm of bees turns up?

If you have a swarm of bees - DON'T PANIC. The first thing to check is if they are honey bees. If they really are honey bees then ring your local beekeepers association. For more details on how to check what you have got and get help see our swarms page.

If you live near to Bridport in Dorset then you can ring us on 01308 423808.

Contact Us

If you enjoy our stories and ponderings or want to give us feedback or suggestions for the site or our beekeeping escapades you can contact us by Email

Snow delays bees

Yes we were on countdown but the weather has been somewhat wet and although we didn't get snow in Dorset, our bee supplier in Surrey did. So, a little behind schedule and D-day, or should I say B-day is now six days away. Roll on Sunday when the Bee fun begins ...
Posted by sally on Monday 21 April 2008 - 17:51:07 |printer friendly

Basic beekeeping

Last Monday evening saw the start of a 5 week introductory beekeeping course. Kindly run by Ruth and Ian Homer for free (donations to Bees for Development encouraged) it attracted 9 interested people in various states of beekeeping readiness and commitment. About half, like Sally and me, were aiming to get bees this season others were taking it more slowly or just finding out a bit more.

This first session covered the natural history of the honey bee. Whilst the subject matter was serious and covered in braod detail, the evening was enjoyable with plenty of laughs and a few groans at Ian's jokes.
Posted by David on Monday 14 April 2008 - 00:32:27 |printer friendly

9 Days and counting

Only 9 days to go and the bees will be here ...
Posted by sally on Friday 11 April 2008 - 14:17:57 |printer friendly

Shook Swarm

So that's how it's done!

Just got back from the monthly beekeeping meeting at the WDBKA - great that they have a training apiary - and one of the hives which had been diseased had to have all the comb replaced. a fresh brood box was prepared with frames and foundation and a contact feeder made ready with sugar syrup. The new queen had been located and marked red (this year's colour) a little earlier in the afternoon and everyone gathered round to observe the shook swarm.

They're national hives at the WDBKA apiary so off came the roof, and the crown board and the existing brood box placed to the side.

The floor was cleaned up and flamed as an extra precaution and a queen "includer" added to prevent the queen from leaving. That stays on for three days or more to give the bees time to draw out some of the new comb. It does mean they can't bring in pollen so shouldn't be left on for more than a week. The new brood box was put in positon with the centre half dozen frames removed to leave a space into which to shake the bees.

Looking at the original brood box, it was pretty clear where the queen was, all the activity was between a couple of frames and after a short inspection she was easily found (thanks to the red spot) and placed into a queen box for safe keeping. Then, one by one each of the frames was shaken into the new brood box, any stray bees brushed off and the old frames put straight into a bin bag for later destruction. The queen could then be released into her new space. A great job, very expertly done with a firm hand by Ruth and Paula!

The crown board and prepared contact feeder were put in place, an empty brood box to account for the space needed for the feeder and the roof place back on top.

Now it's over to the bees to do the rest.

Just the job!
Posted by sally on Saturday 05 April 2008 - 18:08:34 |printer friendly

Ready and Waiting

So, we're just waiting for some bees to arrive now. Six supers and four brood boxes all parcelled up and complete with frames and foundation. I can't say I've become particularly expert at the "making" thing - all that handy stuff has never been my forte - but it is quite satisfying to look back at the efforts of a few weekends' work (with a little help from friends - thanks Hannah and Jill). Added to that the freshly, and expertly painted (by David) WBC is calling out to be used. OK I know we haven't finished and there's lots more preparation to do - painting, more frame-making, reading and making decisions but we are close - so watch this space!
Posted by sally on Saturday 29 March 2008 - 17:57:55 |printer friendly

Beekeeping has great paraphernalia

Maybe it's a boy thing, but isn't it great to have and collect all the bits and pieces that go with beekeeping? What other occupation or hobby has so many arcane and wonderful things to play with. Today a little package arrived from Thorne's with some new bits and bobs. Quite exciting to get nice things through the post - though Thorne's could really do with updating their online shopping service as the "grand total" doesn't include postage and whilst using shredded cardboard for packing is good recycling it weighs heavier than air. A smaller box and less padding would have been better - especially since the contents were not breakables. It was only an order for plastic ends, a brush, some escapes and swarm lures. So why have we opted for plastic ends?

[ Read the rest ... ]

Posted by David on Thursday 27 March 2008 - 17:48:42 |printer friendly

I still hate computers

I had hoped to write a placatory note, but no the system has a little glitch.  My attempts to go back and repair the previous post have met with only partial success!

I am really only adding this as a test.
Posted by David on Wednesday 26 March 2008 - 16:31:27 |printer friendly

I am fed up with computers!

Having spent ages on writing the previous (first) article. the gremlins got to work and wiped out most of it. There was a little glitch in the system and all the creative wonders disappeared. Perhaps there is a case for writing in Word first!

I'll try and reconnect to the genie and rewrite the rest of the story later.

Posted by David on Wednesday 26 March 2008 - 14:46:41 |printer friendly

Oh no! We have gone and done it again!

Yes, despite having no bees, we went and bought some more equipment last night. We followed up a note on an eBay auction for a Smith hive which said there was some WBC kit available too. As it was only a few miles away we had to take a look. I think that one of the symptoms of the beekeeping bug is an insane desire to buy, save, obtain, care for and possess any piece of beekeeping equipment that might "come in handy sometime" or adds to the "set" (in our case WBC). It was pretty clear that some of the stuff we were buying hadn't been used by the seller. He had bought it to add to his "sets" (Smith, Dadant, WBC and National in his case) and whilst it was good to have it to hand, it never came in that handy after all.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Posted by David on Wednesday 26 March 2008 - 14:10:41 |printer friendly

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