Category: Keeping Your Bees Alive

Beekeeping is really about keeping your bees alive. If you can’t manage to do that, you don’t have bees. It is not as easy to be successful as some people think and the learning curve is steep.

Map of my travels

News from UK and CA

Many people, myself included, find spring to be their favourite season. The arrival of snowdrops, then crocuses, blackthorn and early blossoms together with frantic pollen-collecting activity by the bees is a welcome antidote to lockdown. Sometimes beekeepers get a little too excited and forget that we can still […]

red blood cells

In The Wars

I’ve been in the wars lately, which is why I haven’t written much on here. Plus, of course, it becomes increasingly difficult to find new ways to say things as each season passes. As we enter spring, it’s time to talk about avoiding starvation, first inspections, checking for […]

The Fight Continues

It won’t be long until spring has sprung and beekeepers across the land start to open hives and assess how their bees did over the winter. I could be more cynical than the average walrus, but I strongly suspect that most beekeepers are like gamblers with winter loss […]

Chart 3 'Caged Queen' method

Charting Brood Breaks

Following on from my article about using brood breaks to help with varroa management, I’m going to get into ‘death by charts’ territory today. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Randy Oliver’s spreadsheet model, which can be tweaked to reflect one’s colonies and treatment […]

Varroa Mite

Brood Breaks to Control Varroa

Varroa mites have been a big problem for honey bees in most of Europe and North America for thirty or more years. Many colony deaths stem from varroa and associated viruses, and many beekeepers probably don’t even know that mites were the culprit. After all, who does mite […]

Getting Bees Through Winter

Zoom!

This week I did a Zoom talk for the Suffolk beekeepers, which was fun. Well, as much fun as it can be for an introvert. Maybe the virtual environment suits people like me who shy away from big crowds and do better in a one-to-one situation. However, sometimes […]

Piglets at 2-3 weeks old

Pigs on the Wing

Many beekeepers in the UK are in the process of removing supers and extracting their honey. The summer is nearly over, queens are laying less, and the bees are beginning to arrange their nests for the winter ahead. Most of the varroa treatments available to us should not […]

Mr & Mrs W taking a break in Argyll

Give us a Break

Somebody asked me yesterday, “what makes a good beekeeper?” I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that, but what I said was, “If you can keep your bees alive from year to year, you’re doing pretty well.” That’s probably not the best answer, but experienced beekeepers who […]

Poly Hives by Swienty

Mites Again, and Hive Types

Mites, Weather & Queens I’m a beekeeper, so the majority of my posts are probably about varroa mites, the weather and queens. So many of the problems I’m likely to face are covered by these things. Varroa mites are a significant problem for honey bees, and that doesn’t […]

Murray McGregor shows a winter cluster

Winter Survival

How this Walrus does it I harvested my last honey in August and treated for mites as soon as the honey supers were off. This works for me. Many beekeepers leave the harvest until later, maximising their honey crop, but I’m happy with what I do. At that […]