Tuesday, 26 May 2015

I am a Keeper of Bees


I have been fascinated by bees for years.  I lived in California, over 15 years ago now, and a friend allowed me to help with her bees once and that was it, I've wanted to be a bee keeper ever since.

After moving to Ash Cottage one of the first things I did was sign up to the local bee-keeper's association and take their introductory course.  It finished a few weeks ago.

Friday was my birthday I had a wonderful day; went for breakfast with my mum and sister, Anna, received most of my bee keeping gear as gifts, spent the day in the garden, and ate the yummiest birthday cake EVER.  After a birthday party with friends on Saturday, both little foxes headed off for sleep-overs with their friends so that Mr Fox and I could get up early Sunday morning to pick up the bees.


A fellow bee keeper in my association was selling off some over wintered queens with their first colonies.  So we drove to pick up my first colony of bees.


The bees after returning to their hive the night before are sealed into the broodbox.  Can you see the blue sponge stuffed into their entrance to stop them getting out?  That was all there was between us and 50,000 bees in the confines of old Betsy, our 15 year old Volvo estate.

Bees are naturally woodland animals and like dappled light.  But they also need the warmth of the sun on the hive for much of the year in our temperate climate.  Although we have a large garden, we do also have 2 dogs and 2 children, so the hive has been positioned at the edge of the garden, close to veggie patch which will, at some point, be fenced off from the rest of the plot.


Once in the garden we decided to face the hive entrance into the hedgerow along the side of the river that is the western boundary of the garden.  This should encourage them to fly up as they come out of the hive, sending them as quickly as possible above head height in the garden and so avoiding collisions between bees and people.


Once in position and the sponge removed from the entrance, they were very active and have continued to be so for the last two days.  Non too friendly for the first 20 minutes they have since appeared to be quite happy to let us stand just to the side of the hive entrance to the north - they mostly seem to fly off to the south towards the fields at the back of our garden.  Watching them come and go from their brood box is all I've been able to do since Sunday.  I'd been told not to open the hive for a couple of days but just let them settle.  They were inspected before being closed up on Saturday and there were no queen cells - so, today I need to do my first inspection.


Best Birthday Cake EVER!

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3 comments:

  1. I cannot wait to hear how they get on. We really want bees too, but need to learn more first. A belated Happy Birthday to you :)

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    1. Thanks, I've joined my local Bee Keepers Association who run an Introduction to Bee Keeping course. I can't recommend this enough and meeting lots of other bee keepers is a great way to learn.

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