Beekeeping Archive

  • Flow Hive. source:

    Flow Hive Thoughts…

    At first glance it seems exciting, new, revolutionary. It appears to have arisen out of caring for bees. The no-hive-opening honey collection system. But as one considers the Flow Hive in a little more depth various issues arise. I’m not saying the inventors of the […]

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  • time to go into the top bar nuc box

    Swarm! 2

    The buzzing penetrated my awareness deep inside the house. When I got to the window I saw the whole of my garden buzzing with bees as they swarmed from the hive there. It took me two tries to get them into the top bar nuc […]

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  • image

    Come and see a horizontal Top Bar Hive!

    Sunday May 4th, 2pm in Earsham. This is a chance for you to see a top bar hive in use as well as chat about bees over cake. Email or phone Elinor on 07791 495012 for more details.

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  • image

    Sticky Thoughts

    I love honey, not everybody does I know, but for me, the darker the better. And heather honey. Oh yum. But I eat less honey now than I ever did before I became interested in bees. Initially beekeeping appealed to me as a form of […]

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  • Alburgh swarm from Warre


    On this lovely April day bees have been on the move.  Swarming is how honey bees increase their numbers. When the colony is in tip-top condition, with a hive full of bees, brood and stores and a new queen developing, the old queen is sent […]

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  • IMG_1738

    College Farm Education Apiary

    Our big project last year was the initiation of educational visits for schools in conjunction with Anglia Regional Co-operative Society and Featherdown Farms. A purpose built apiary was created at College Farm, Aldeby, a fantastic spot leading down to the broads. It’s primarily aimed at […]

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  • Our bees arriving at the apiary

    Come and see the Bees!

    Once again Bungay Community Bees’ colonies have survived rather a strange weather year. Long spells of dry weather following the late, sudden burst of flower energy has led to low honey stores in good sized colonies. We are currently needing to feed them up with […]

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  • transferring frames into the hive.

    Installing bees into the observation hive

    The latest additions to the apiary includes 2 clear tubes between the entrance holes and the hive. Hopefully we shall be able to see the bees with pollen on their legs returning to the nest. Mike added some ‘porches’ on the outside as well to […]

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  • The main body installed

    Mikes Most Marvellous Observation Hive

    I spent a great three hours earlier with Mike and his family as he got the majority of the observation hive installed. If I’m brutally honest I wasn’t particularly useful, but I did get to swan around taking pictures and getting a feel for the […]

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  • Earsham Bees (hTBH)

    Bees, Bees, Bees ….they’re alive!

    I’m always a little apprehensive at this time of year; will the bees have survived? Did they have enough stores? Have they been able to maintain colony temperature? Did the woodpeckers get a tasty meal? Can the bees cope with any varroa load? Has anything […]

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  • Bees are fun!

    Bungay Beehive Day 2012: Snapshots

    We had a great time at this years Bungay Beehive Day (even with some last minute tent hitches), many thanks to all those that participated. I have put together a few photo’s to give a flavour of what went on…  Heidi Herrmann from the Natural […]

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  • bringing pollen in

    BCB Bees: Update Sept 2012

    Over the last couple of months we have been lucky enough to take in some of the late summer swarms. One didn’t stick around very long but the others have happily taken up residence in our beautiful hand made horizontal top bar hives. They were […]

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  • swarm in bush

    Late summer swarms…

    Thanks to some local contacts Bungay Community Bees hived five swarms in July, we lost one due to being queenless and one that left the following day, but three remain. We also had two emerge from our National hive at Barsham, it’s all got to […]

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  • featuredbee

    Bungay Bee Hive Day: 15th July

    Bungay Bee Hive Day is a celebration of the honeybee and other pollinating insects along with the plants they love. Unique in the region and in its second year the event is organised by Bungay Community Bees as part of the Bungay Festival and aims to […]

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  • Watching bees

    Bursting with Bees

      Finally! It was just warm enough (on a day when I wasn’t working) to have a peek inside the hive. Four of us gathered to see what we could see. I’m coming around to the idea of, or perhaps rather gaining confidence in, opening […]

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  • sawing the canes to a fifteen cm or so length

    Building bee and bug abodes

    Our group may have an unashamed love affair with honey bees, but we have come to realise they are part of so much more. They are, by dint of being generalists and by numbers, a really important pollinator insect, however they are not always the […]

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  • snowdrop pollen

    Intoxicated by bees

    I think Honey Bees are my favourite drug. Better even than a Gin and Tonic. On this first truly warm day of the year, in a heady mix of sunshine and warm breeze there is a frenetic buzz of flying bees jostling to get their […]

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  • bee exploring fondant offering

    Fondant candy

      After the recent cold spell it was a huge relief to see the bees flying today. There was an audible buzz as I approached the hive and I have to admit all thoughts of letting the children help me or use the stethoscope for […]

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  • 'Superhive' Queen (my favourite)

    Bungay Community Bees 2011

      Bungay Comunity Bees (BCB) has captured the imaginations of many this year. Several other Community Beekeeping groups have begun and we have become known to inspiring organisations such as The Natural Beekeeping Trust, Friends of the Bees (Phil Chandler ‘The Barefoot Beekeeper’), Bees for […]

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  • around the pond

    Linking Landscapes: vitally important (but oh so difficult…)

    ‘every generation grows up in an ever depleted landscape. Growing up in a depleted landscape one thinks that that is normal..’ Oliver Rackham The Suffolk Naturalists’Society hosted the Linking Landscapes conference in Autumn 2011. The overriding theme was one of response to loss of insects […]

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  • ready to go - dried yarrow and calendula

    Salve Sunday

    December 2011 saw Bungay Community Bees coming together in my kitchen to make a healing yarrow salve, utilizing beeswax left over from honey processing. We were led by Mark, who proved to be both knowledgeable and entertaining – read about the Plants for Life talks, walks and […]

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  • neonicotinoid products (a Soil Association picture)

    Further evidence to condemn neonicotinoid pesticides

    The following has been sent to us by Friends of the Bees: News just in provides compelling evidence that Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides are a significant cause of bee deaths in Britain and elsewhere, supporting the case that we have been making for years. The British […]

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  • Natural Beekeeping Conference

    Thoughts from the first Natural Beekeeping Conference

    In August Eloise and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable weekend at the first ever Natural Beekeeping Conference. There were many speakers covering a variety of topics and although we are unable to cover a whole weekends worth in depth, we would like to share some […]

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  • listening, Dec 2011

    Blustery Bees

    I spent the night a couple of weeks ago lying awake listening to the wind howling around the house. My mind was full of images of hive pieces strewn about and our lovely Superhive II colony being dispersed over the north sea. I resolved to […]

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  • Eloise listening

    Busy Bees in October

    This wonderful weather has allowed the bees to keep busy into autumn. I have been taking time to visit them and to sit and see what they are up to. They are taking loads of pollen into the hive still, which Bob Spruce said they […]

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  • empty comb

    The Vanishing of OUR Bees…

    I am a little late in writing this blog, partly as I haven’t quite known how to go about it. It concerns the absconding of a whole hive full of bees. Not an ordinary swarm, but the leaving of a whole colony. It’s always great […]

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  • gathering around

    Top Bar Hive looking good

    So – it was the second inspection of the tbh today. The bees had built a little more comb along the top bars but were still quite a small colony. All was looking well, we found eggs, larvae, sealed brood and the queen (second most […]

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  • sticky hive

    Unopened for 2 years… and Superhive lives on (genetically)!

    What a fabulous honeybee day! The first port of call was to investigate a hive lost in nettles that hadn’t been looked at for at least 2 years. Thankfully Philip had been busy with a scythe before we got there otherwise I’m not sure we […]

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  • New Queen

    Here we go!

    Bungay Community Bees has experienced some colony losses this year (for a number of reasons) but I’m happy (no, ecstatic) to report we now have a new Queen laying well and expanding her colony rapidly. She is fabulously large and long with lovely wide tan […]

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  • first combs in tbh

    Top Bar Triumph (well so far anyway..)

    Paul and Adele have been feeding and spying (very handy having a glass panel) on the swarm housed in the top bar hive in their garden. However, the time to open the hive eventually came. So, after nearly four weeks, myself and Mike (the crafter […]

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  • Another egg-less frame

    Eggless Easter!

    Things in the hives seem to be changing at a great rate of knots. There was not one single egg to be seen in any of the five hives this week. Something I never expected to encounter. Thankfully, four of the hives had capped Queen […]

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  • Enthusiastic members!

    Ahhhh, so sorry handsome Queen

    Where to start? Perhaps with the miraculous power of aloe vera to soothe a fingertip burn from a smoker. I’m tempted to grow some at every apiary I visit, or in the car perhaps? My poor old hands aren’t going to survive beekeeping at this […]

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  • Horizontal top bar hive, sloping sides

    They’re finished! The first 2 “BCB Top Bar Hives” are complete and ready for some bees.

    Mike has written an account of his venture making Bungay Community Bees 2 (fantastic) horizontal Top Bar Hives (hTBH’s), here it is: I have always loved working with wood and have in the past made all sorts of things, but never a bee hive. So […]

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  • larvae in cells

    Sunshine and Bees: there will be a summer after all…

    With the advent of warmer weather came our chance to open the hives. We wanted to assess what state the colonies were in and get them ready for spring. Seven of us met at the Barsham Apiary and after a chat whilst getting suited up […]

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  • Pollen, Wax and other Hive Debris

    Counting Varroa

    Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. Just under a week ago on a beautiful sunny, warm day (do you remember it? It was one of only two so far this year) I had the pleasure of visiting our five hives to check on […]

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  • unep_logo

    UNEP report into causes of Pollinator losses

    Bees Under Bombardment: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report shows multiple factors are behind pollinator losses. The full report as a pdf can be found here, the following is the summary from the UNEP website: Geneva/Nairobi, 10 March 2011 – More than a dozen factors, […]

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  • varroa on bee

    Varroa Research

    Last night I attended the Suffolk Beekeepers Association AGM, which was as AGM’s tend to be, but had the added attraction of Ricarda (Ricky) Kathay, Phd student. Suffolk Beekeepers are part-funding the research project into varroa destructor that she is working on – and it’s […]

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  • applying oxalic acid

    Bees Alive!

    I have been on tenterhooks – worried sick that all our bees would have died either from cold weather, lack of stores, disease or some other mystery. Weeks have gone by as I have waited for the weather to be warm enough to check them, […]

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  • bayer

    Nasty, Noxious, Neurotoxic Neo-nicotinoids

    Use of neo-nicotinoid pesticides is a huge issue which is finally getting some more mainstream coverage. Decline of pollinators including honey bees has been linked with their use and some European countries have actually banned them, not so the UK. For a great summary of […]

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  • beemouth parts

    Marvellous Microscopy

    I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of the Iceni Microscopy Group today. Originally formed by beekeepers as a way of monitoring bee health, the current members also have a range of other interests – including algae and tortoises! Although during my […]

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  • BeeBanner4

    London Bee Summit

    Last week Sustainable Bungay was invited to attend the London Bee Summit – a conference bringing together beekeepers from all over the country.  Our travelling group comprised Charlotte, Mark, Eloise, Elinor and Gemma. Although we were all keen to hear what the speakers had to say […]

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  • Woodpecker protection

    Foiled you Woodpecker (I hope)!

    Green Woodpeckers are a common ‘problem’ when it comes to keeping bees. As much as I want to protect our bees, it does seem a little mean to tease the woodpeckers with a larder full of tasty treats and then put a barrier up. However, […]

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  • bee logo

    BBKA (British Beekeeper’s Association) annual survey

    The results of the BBKA annual survey were released this week – the good news is that more people are keeping bees and being more involved with supporting bees. However, we will need to wait to see what survival rates over winter are. I have […]

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  • bee logo

    BCB 2010 Report

    To read a report on our first season’s experiences click on this link BCB 2010 Summary (pdf 820kb )

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  • transferred to nuc box

    Perfect September Bees

    As luck would have it everything came together for a perfect bee-keeping day.  After the downpours and chills of the last couple of weeks I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get to sort the hives out for the winter.  We needed to […]

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  • beeedit

    Heavy Syrup

    I spoke to Bob Spruce at the opening of the Waveney Beekeepers Group Training Apiary at the weekend ( a facility for training new beekeepers and raising new bees) and his top tip for preparing for winter was feed, feed, feed (and check them early […]

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  • National Hive with gables roof

    So many Bees!

    I have seen nearly every bee in our care today, probably 200,000 or so, and it has quite literally made my head all buzzy. Thank goodness I am not a commercial beekeeper! I even saw bees belonging to the second hive to join our Bee […]

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  • 4805510731_ec6a9b68ff_b

    Bee Holiday Camp

    We have an additional hive of bees with us at Flixton, they are on holiday while their keeper, Hugh (a Bungay Bee Group member), has the ‘oh so onerous’ task of visiting Southern Africa during our winter months. The super-duper looking hive complete with sloping […]

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  • 4805511477_9046e85c85

    Queens, Queens, Queens!

    The wasps are now becoming a problem and we watched guard bees attacking them at the entrance of one of the Flixton hives, it’s time to put the entrance block back underneath the mouseguard on the Barsham Superhive. We now have yet more dilemmas, keeping […]

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  • Happy Birthday 1

    Happy Birthday!

    We went down to see the Superhive at Barsham this week. It was a balmy day and we were a group of eight, three of whom were children. I have to comment on how sensible and interested they were, not only did they have really […]

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  • DSC00496

    Bee Inspection

    Having registered with BeeBase (a free database monitoring the health of honey bee colonies) only last week, we had a bee inspector offer to look at our colonies within days. The Grand Inspection took place today on our 2 Swarm hives, Hive1, our super-duper hive, […]

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