Sunday, 13 June 2010


Our first beehive is now installed. It’s a second-hand national beehive standing on second-hand, not pretty but practical, brieze blocks.


We’ve set it up at the edge of the field where the orchard and fruit patch are in the hope of getting some good pollination action. Although there’ll be no such action until the hive is home to a colony. At the moment my brood chamber frames have wax foundation only and are in need of some bees.


The Mr Bee of Wales has promised me a nucleus – five frames of wax with queen bee, brood (that’s bee larvae in its various stages) and a thousand or so worker bees. All being well by end of July I’ll have a full colony of 40,000 bees! That’s a whole lot of buzzing and a sack load of sting venom.

I’ve been busy with my bee book reading and last week attended my first bee school practical class. I surprised myself with my calmness as I approached Ron’s very active hive, trying to dodge the bees coming and going along their flight lines. As he opened the hive I stood as still as possible, holding my breath, as though hoping the bees wouldn’t spot me standing there in a baggy white suit big enough for two. Oh my goodness, so many bees, crawling everywhere, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. The longer the hive was kept open for all us learner beekeepers to have a good rummage, the louder and more insistent became the buzzing. Fair enough really. I think I’d be a bit narked if someone took the roof off my home and started moving the furniture around willy nilly. Up until now, all I knew about bees I learned from the film “Swarm”, but after 2 hours with Ron I could find a queen, a drone and a worker in a colony, identify a queen cell, and spot larvae in honeycomb. Obviously the moment I’m on my own with my own colony all hell will break loose and I’ll be running across the field, arms flapping, with a swarm of angry bees after my blood!

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