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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.

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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

After the wind

All the out-apiaries seem to be OK after the strong winds.  In fact David tells me the hive at the Rectory has put on weight.  They should be OK then.

Posted by sally on Thursday 22 December 2011 - 18:00:46 |printer friendly


I've been purifying some wax over the last couple of weeks, making up a few small moulds and getting some quantities ready to make starter strips or foundation.

But today - I made my first candles.  Success - I think - well we'll see what they're like when I burn them!

Must get some little night light moulds - not sure if re-using them will work but we'll see.

Posted by sally on Tuesday 06 December 2011 - 18:04:50 |printer friendly

Honey production complete!

At last!  All the honey is now bottled or packaged.  In total four of our apiaries have contributed to a harvest of just over 350lbs - 328lbs of honey in jars and 25lbs cut comb.  All hives have been left with a good stock of their own stores and we also have a stack of supers with partially sealed stores should they be needed.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Posted by sally on Sunday 13 November 2011 - 23:19:50 |printer friendly


Mouseguards are now in the hives in the garden and all heft OK.  They will be easy enough to keep an eye on in the garden though.  Varroa pretty good in G3 and G4 and a little more than we would like in G6 but all seem very active with pollen still going in.

[ Read the rest ... ]

Posted by sally on Sunday 13 November 2011 - 21:25:05 |printer friendly

Finished spinning at last!

Still in the region of 50 lbs of honey to put into jars but finally tonight I have finished spinning our honey!

Now we have three piles of wet supers and partially sealed stores in our conservatory and the pig barn which we'll need to store until Spring and many more boxes that need sorting, wax melting and frames cleaning but that is now part of the Winter maintenance programme ...
Posted by sally on Monday 07 November 2011 - 22:37:34 |printer friendly

Final mouseguards

Over to the Rectory today and we removed the brood box which was above the crown board being cleaned and added a mouseguard.  All set for winter there.  We also removed the brood box from the empty hive and when we got home, I cut out the old wax and stored away the frames for cleaning at the next opportunity.

At Green Lane David added a mini-mouseguard to the nuc (I really didn't expect there to be bees in there as it was so small but we'll see if they survive) and removed the feeder we had left on.  He also upturned the wooden mouseguard in the occupied hive (GL3). We still have a couple of brood boxes to clear from the empty hives but no hurry - we can get to that when we are able.  I managed to get a bee in my bonnet and a sting on the back of my neck - very careless to get stung in November!

Then tonight I got the wax extractor out (borrowed from the Association) and cleaned up some wax.  Much more to do but maybe I'll get chance at the weekend.

Posted by sally on Sunday 06 November 2011 - 22:00:00 |printer friendly

Sunny November day

What a great sunny November day.  Finally, I managed to get the boiler going and cleaned up some frames ready for starter strips or foundation.  Still lots of cleaning up to do but a start.

Whilst I was doing that, David headed over the Little Piece and equipped the hives over there with some fortification against the neighbouring woodpeckers.  Each of the hives is now encased by chicken wire and he has added mouseguards.

He also hefted each of the hives.  Colony 2 is a little on the light side and he removed the feeder and eke we had left on. They were low on varroa though.  Colony 3 was heavy and hive 4 was also a good weight.

On the way over he had called in at the Hill.  No need for a mouseguard there as there was a wooden one in already.

Posted by sally on Saturday 05 November 2011 - 23:49:16 |printer friendly

Garden checks

It seems we have lost one colony from the garden.  There is still a cluster of bees in G1 and some weight but it seems to be a non colony.  It hasn't been warm enough to warrant a look inside so we'll leave nature to take its course unless there is a warm spell - it's unlikely we can do much anyway.

Colony 3 is doing OK - David recorded it as light in weight so we'll need to see if we need to add a super of stores.  Varroa is low which is encouraging.  Colony 4 has a good weight - again, less than one a day varroa count so all good there.  Hive 6 though, the strongest and largest colony does still have a high varroa count but is a good weight.  All boards are still in so we'll do another check soon.
Posted by sally on Friday 04 November 2011 - 20:07:28 |printer friendly

A few days off

A concerted effort to finish off the honey extraction and make a start on the beekeeping clean-up ... I've got three days off so with the weekend added to that my aim is try and get our kitchen back to normal (or at least ready to start that process) and also to start to clean up some of those frames that have been piled up on the unused hives at the top of our garden throughout the Summar.
Posted by sally on Wednesday 02 November 2011 - 11:43:32 |printer friendly

Garden treatment complete

Well we are probably later than most but today I removed the Apiguard from all of the hives in the garden.  I've put boards in so we will see what the count is after treatment.  The garden had our highest levels of varroa and we really needed to do something about it but we'll see if we still need to take action in the Spring.

Just mouseguards to do all round now but there are still a lot of wasps around.
Posted by sally on Saturday 22 October 2011 - 22:41:08 |printer friendly

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