Topic: GENERAL

When is a bee not a bee?

Hoverfly

When is a bee not a bee?  When it’s a fly, a hoverfly.  This mimic might look like a honey bee but something’s not quite right, it is too shiny and it hovers.  I thought it would be a simple case of identifying which hoverfly but it turns out there are quite a few hoverflies… Read more »

New bee hive design

The James Dyson award challenges new designers to come up with solutions to existing problems. This innovative bee hive design has taken natural beekeeping principles on board, as the designer puts it: “Helping reestablish a connection between humans and honeybees based on more than just honey.” I like the material, cork, the shape and the… Read more »

The in-hive pharmacy

Meadow flowers

I’ve written before on the virtues of leaving your honey bees to over winter on their own honey stores rather than feeding them sugar and now there is mounting scientific evidence to support the view. Recent studies by a team from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenburg, Germany¹ found that nurse bees select different honey according to… Read more »

Eco-friendly wood preservative

Lifetime wood treatment

Eureka?  Could I have found someone with the solution to a perennial problem – how to preserve wood in an eco-friendly way?  As I wrote in my blog on paint for bee hives the natural order of things is for wood to decompose, so stopping that process has involved toxic substances. Canadian company Vahalla Wood… Read more »

A Winter Heather Garden for Bees

Heather in winter garden at RHS Harlow Carr

I don’t need convincing that growing heathers makes sense as someone passionate about honey bee plants.  There are winter heathers, or strictly heaths, to last through the colder months and offer a source of nectar and pollen at this time of scarcity.  But I think I could do with some help to design them into… Read more »

Bee abundance 2015

Caravan bees

It began on a sad note with my four year old bees fading away in early spring. I bought this and another colony from a retiring commercial beekeeper for £180 each. One went to the garden at work then died in the second year when the field next door grew rape. Coincidence? The other lasted… Read more »

Skep making course

Straw skep

Willow basket making is known for its therapeutic value but I’m not sure the same can be said of straw!  I wasn’t the only one to be flat-out exhausted at the end of our day.  It didn’t help that my skep grew and grew like Jack’s bean stalk and as I looked around I could… Read more »

Of skeps and alvearies

Willow skep or alveary

I’ve mentioned before that I am no woodworker and because hands off beekeeping is so much about creating a good home will the bees it has been a little disempowering.  In the garden at work is a fair amount of willow and running the place on a shoestring means looking to maximize every resource available…. Read more »