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Bee Keeping

In the summer of 2004 I was fortunate to be given a large amount of bee keeping equipment.  Many thanks Mark!

This included a colony of bees in a hive, so I was off to a good start as a bee keeper.  However, things moved a little quicker than I had expected and had to move the bees to their new home by myself with very limited knowledge.  This went a lot smoother than I imagined and wearing a veil and gloves etc. while driving wasn't necessary.  A weekend crash course in bee keeping at Temple Newsham by the Leeds Beekeepers rapidly brought me up to speed.  Because I acquired the bees in the late summer and they were a swarm from that year I didn't get any honey from them.  Possibly also due to my eagerness to examine the hive rather too frequently.

2005 started well and early in the season I took about ten pounds of oil seed rape honey, which I've been using for cooking.  I had three other empty hive which I wished to put to use, so I set one up as a bait hive at the bottom of the garden.  While on a fortnights holiday a swarm found this hive and moved in.  All well and good.  This hive was moved to a more suitable location and another bait hive replaced it.  I then received an offer of another swarm through the local Bee Keepers Association.

Shortly after this as my partner Alison passed the bait hive on her way to work she called out that there seemed to be some bees interested in the hive.  I made a mental note to look later that morning.  At about ten o'clock I open the back door and was met by the garden filled with bees, the noise was amazing.  Grabbing my camera and going out of the front door I ran around to the back garden to a place where I might safely take some photos.  See below:

A swarm arrives at my bait hive. The swarm settling into it's new home. Home sweet home.

The first of these three photos where taken about ten minutes apart with the third after another half hour.  I have some video which I'l try to make available soon.  This hive is still in my back garden and has shown odd days of activity even in Jamuary 06, so I have high hopes for this hive.

My current status in hives stands at three as I lost one late in 2005 as a mouse made a home before I got my mouse guards in place.  This was the hive with the first swarm to arrive, which I took to an orchard next to my sister-in-laws.  I had to move this hive in October, but it did produce roughly seven pounds of really nice honey.  I'm very dissapointed to have lost this colony as it appeared to be very strong to me.  I also have two other hives (including the original) at a local farm.  So I should be starting 2006 with a nice little apairy.

I'll try and update this page as the season progresses.  I'd like to take a couple of hives to some different crops this year and go to the heather too.  More soon.