Thursday, 22 October 2009

100 years ago

Found this little story in a recent Country Life magazine and thought it might interest.

Dated Sept 25th 1909

Bee-keepers are subject to certain risks which are peculiar to the possession of their small live-stock. In their wanderings the insects are frequently irritated into stinging, and cases have arisen which show that in certain circumstances the apiarian is liable to the person who has been injured. In order to meet this liability the British Beekeepers Association has made arrangements with a firm of underwriters at Lloyds for insurance against liabilities caused by bees. The premium is at the rate of a penny per hive on the maximum number of hives kept, with a minimum of ninepence. In addition those who are not members of the British Beekeepers Association, or of its affiliated associations, are required to pay a registration fee of sixpence.

We currently pay a little more than that to insure our hives from certain diseases and public liability but it still represents good value to make sure everyone feels reassured and protected

Monday, 10 August 2009

Wasps: 'they do what it says on the tin!'

This is our garden Top Bar Hive after it went queenless, and the small colony fell prey to a nearby Wasp nest.........lesson learned the hard way!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Omlet bee-hive
Looking forward to seeing this!!!!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Harvest continues!

Just back from a fabulous Druidic weekend in Glastonbury, and have spent the day getting round our 7 hives. Today, we have extracted 31lbs of honey, making our total 42lbs for the year so far! We still have 2 supers to come off at some point this week, however, we're feeling pretty proud of our girls! The harvest should have been much larger, but we missed our 'window of opportunity' and found many frames crystallised. We can't complain, as it was our choice to go to the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids Summer Gathering in Glastonbury. As practising Druids, we're not in it for the money (so to speak), but more for our own personal use......and Mead of course!
For instance, today, we had our first experience of melted cut comb on toast, simply sublime! We urge everyone to do the same!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Relocation of a BumbleBee nest to our home apiary!

Short video of Steve relocating a nest of BumbleBees to our apiary. They had moved into a colleagues garden, and taken up residence in an old bird box! However, they were causing a bit of a problem for the family and, as beneficial as they are, they had to move.

Monday, 25 May 2009


A little compilation of our day at the allotment with an errant swarm!!!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Oxfordshire Beekeepers pay us a visit

Yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of hosting Oxfordshire beekeepers (OBKA)at our allotment apiary.
Like a flight of angels, our new, white bee-suited friends arrived at our lotty to a rather entertaining start! Not only did we have a top-bar hive (TBH), two National hives and a 2-week old nucleus of bees to show them, we also had a swarm!!! A few minutes prior to the first people arriving, I thought I would have a quick check around our allotment (which is immediately adjacent to our bees). Whilst admiring our fruit bushes, I began to wonder why the ground beneath was 'moving'! Quickly I realised that it was in fact a mass of bees, clinging to the now broken off top of our small apple tree!! Needless to say, our swarm was quickly claimed, and we were glad to hand them over to a newly starting beekeeper!! We are ever obliging!!!!!
N.B. In above photo, swarm is under the box at the base of the tree in the foreground - above rhubarb leaves.
Steve hosted the day and took the group of beekeepers through the hives. Most of the group had never seen or looked inside a TBH and enjoyed seeing the bees making 'chains' to shape the comb. All our bees looked in good health and behaved themselves by having a mellow attitude!!
The hi-light of the afternoon was hearing new Queen bees 'pipe' in one of Tim and Julie's hives
Most people in the group managed to hear it and it was a most magical moment!!!
The afternoon was completed with tea served from our allotment shed and fine fruit-cake supplied by Julie.
All in all a most splendid day!!!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Hiving our little rascals!


Cast Swarm under neighbours tree!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Thought we would get away with swarming in our first TBH season, but bees don't read the manuals!!!

Up-close and Personal

Fantastic comb of eggs, brood and larvae!

Lynne's second inspection - featuring our home-made, rotating Top-bar holder!!!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Interesting debate!!!

Have a look at this forum and let us know what you think!!!!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Bee hives

Just a few photos of some of our bee-hives

Refurbished WBC hive ready for installation in the allotment apiary

Our top-bar hive in the garden at home

National hive in our garden

Steve, Julie and Tim at work at their hives in the allotment apiary

New Sussex Bee Research Laboratory

Good news for beekeeping!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Lynnes First Inspection

Lynnes first real day as a fully fledged Beekeeper! Here, she opens her Top Bar Hive for her fist single handed inspection! Well done you!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

You can take the 'Dame' out of the Panto, but you can't take the panto out of the Dame!

Fellow Beekeepers!
You HAVE to read the above link and, after you've got up from the floor from laughing! contact your MP to ask just how on earth such a dizzy woman gets to be a Dame, let alone an MP!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Integrated Pest Control: it does what it says on the tin!

We put in our Varroa floor at our home apiary a week ago, and checked it yesterday. Result.....only one mite after seven days! ONE mite! I call that a result for the common beekeeper! I think that that shows that Oxalic Acid at Christmas works. However, we have heard that many fellow beekeepers have lost colonies this winter, and locally, some have lost just about everything. That is really sad, and on a personal note, is upsetting. But we must all band together, learn from each other, and work (as the bees do) as one to defeat whatever is ailing all our bees! We are taking nothing for granted, and I fed the hive sugar syrup yesterday, and plan to do the same at the lottie in the next day or so. Our colleagues fed their bees 'Apifonda' during the winter, and their bees seem to be in excellent fettle, with a negligable Varroa count. Bravo LAAGS!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

DEFRA register

We were contacted today via a local friend who informed us of a news piece on BBC Farming Today concerning bees. In essence it was a discussion on the merits of hobby beekeepers informing DEFRA that they are keeping hives. This therefore enables a database to be maintained and for hives to be inspected for disease by an approved inspector.
We have always maintained our place on the register and have therefore been inspected every year since keeping bees - but other people seem not to be quite to happy to do this!
If we are to control the rate of disease in our bees, surely a national database of hives is the sensible thing? What do you think?
Defra link
Farming Today link where you can download a podcast of the bee piece or just listen via direct link on the site.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Save Our Bees Campaign!

Just found this link on the BBKA website, also on ''. I would urge everyone to sign up!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Bees of the Bank of England

When we were on our beekeeping course with James, I remember him mentioning that the Bank of England had played host to colonies of bees. The subject had come up a few times over the last few months and a search of Google seemed to point that there had been bees at the Bank of England, but with very little detail about what had really happened.

I work just down the road from the Bank of England and I've been meaning to wander down there at lunchtime for a while and see if I could find out some more. So, this lunchtime, I popped down to the Bank of England museum to enquire.

Actually, the museum is well worth a visit if you're in the area. I loved the opportunity to lift a gold bar on my palm (sadly, I could not take it home with me...) as well as reminiscing over the old banknote designs. But this is all about bees.

I explained to the attendant that I was a beekeeper and that I'd heard rumours of 'Bees at the Bank' and I wondered if she could tell me more?

And so she did! She knew the story instantly. A previous governor of the Bank of England, Robin Leigh-Pemberton was a beekeeper. In those days, the Governor had a flat 'above the shop' and whilst he lived there, he had hives of bees on the roof of the Bank. Leigh-Pemberton was Governor between 1983-1993.

The Bees of the Bank foraged in the City of London during that period.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Hives in the Snow

With all the snow we've had this week, I thought I'd go to the allotments this morning and check the hives were ok. They looked fine - though at that time, the bees weren't flying. I don't blame them really.

What interested me about this picture was the tracks between the hives! Who goes there?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Newsworthy Article!

Just caught this article on the net!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Ten things to do to save honey bees

A link to a great web-site and an even better place to visit and support.
Steve and I have supported CAT for several years and always find it a beautiful and inspirational place to visit.
Most importantly, as you can read from the link above - they support our bees!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Know your bugs!

Hi Peeps!
I was teaching today, and used a picture of a Buff Tailed Bumble Bee taken in our garden last summer. I was trying to promote Bees as friendly creatures during a session on 'Anaphylaxis and it's Treatment'.
The picture was taken on a chilly day, and she seemed quite happy to be perched on my finger....('cupboard love' me thinks, as my finger was probably nice and warm!).
Can anyone identify the mites on her? I think that they are Braula Mites, but i'm not sure........don't phone in, it's just for fun!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Oxalic Action...Part 2!

Hi! Just back from the Apiary on a bright, sunny, but chilly windy kind of day! Helped Tim & Julie with their Oxalic Acid treatment, and 'battened down the hatches' as there are storms forcast. Nice to see heaps of bees flying around the hive entrances, just stretching their wings and orientating........bless em!
However, Tim was less than enthusiastic about the couple of stings he recieved from one of their rather 'enthusiastic' hives! But lots of stores all round and, more importantly, lots of healthy bees!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Frost! does what it says on the tin!

Frost! "It does what it says on the tin.....", well, thats what the TV advert used to say! So I thought...painful sometimes! ...why not use this burst of wintery weather to my beekeeping advantage!
Hive & apiary hygiene are so important these days, and we don't have a chest freezer at home in which to freeze bits of hive to kill pests and harden off wax. So, why not use mother nature instead!
Hence, I put out our brace combed queen excluder and Miller feeders to let Jack Frost do his thing with them! After an hour or so, tapped the comb with the hive tool and, kerr-ching! Wax shatters into dust! Sooooo much easier to clean up!
Now for a Soda crystal wash up, and then re-varnish the feeders to seal them and...presto! Nice clean hygienic feeders ready for the Spring feed when required!
Also, we are in the process of ordering a shed for our garden apiary.....too much bee equipment for the spare bedroom!, as well as our allotment produce from this years harvest! Anyone who has seen the UK television series 'The Good Life' (from the seventies) will know what we mean! lol!

Friday, 2 January 2009


Greetings to Beelore! Hi, and welcome to our small piece of Oxfordshire! Best wishes from the team at LAAG!