Argyle and Walrus

English Cream Tea

I’m sat in the luxurious lounge of Anchorage House, Tighnabruaich, gazing across a narrow stretch of blue/grey sea to the rolling hills of Bute, with my laptop perched upon a cushion on my knee. It is a favourite family holiday location; the natural beauty of Argyle and Bute is staggering. The house where we stay…

Are Your Queens Majestic?

Actors from the Crown and Victoria

Anybody who has been reading my blog for a while will no doubt form the view that I am obsessed with queens. I’m talking about queen honey bees, not what you were thinking, you smutty vermin. The queen bee is not the ruler of her hive, as some may think. I would say that she…

Busy as a Beekeeper

Horse Chestnut Tree In Flower by Renoir

Here in my part of England, the weather is currently absolutely perfect, and we have shaken off the oppressive depressed state induced by a long cold Winter followed by a miserable Spring. It is incredible how rapidly Nature responds to such changes. We went from skeletal trees and frozen ground to an explosion of green,…

Velutina has a touch of Latina

Penelope Cruz Getty Images

Main image Penelope Cruz, (c) Getty from here On my recent trip to Brittany, I saw my first Asian Hornets (Vespa Velutina). They were queens trying to establish nests early in the season, and even though I’d only seen photographs before I instantly recognised the large dark insects, which dart about making a deep hum…

Vive Le Morse!

Treguihe near Corseul in France

Oh, the power of Google (other search engines are available, and some of them don’t track your every move and send adverts to you). I just used it to find out what the French word is for “walrus” and apparently it is “morse”. I like it! Je suis un morse. I am staying in beekeeper…

Swarm Control by the Experts

Bee Books

At some point, some colonies will make swarm preparations, and if the beekeeper wishes to keep his or her bees, and hopefully the lovely honey they will make, he or she needs to do something about it pretty quickly. Once queen cells are found in the hive then the bees are no longer bluffing; they…

The Cliché Photo that keeps on giving

Swarm of Bees on a Car

The easiest way to understand how honeybees work is to think of the colony as the body of an individual, and therefore the bees themselves are more like cells which make up that body. It is the survival and prosperity of the colony that matters, not that of any individual bee, except the queen (she’s…

When the going gets tough…

Hives in Winter

Image above copyright Mariusz Nikiciuk Here in the UK, and particularly in my corner of our emerald isle, we are accustomed to some unpleasant weather, mostly of the wet kind. A couple of years ago I picked up some bees from somebody up in the hills of Derbyshire because I wanted to try out bees which get…

At Least I’m not Starved of Metaphors

Baby Walrus

Gosh, I’ve been running around like a blue-arsed fly, a headless chicken, a striped ass ape…[insert favourite metaphor here]…which is not how your average walrus likes to be. We are sedentary creatures. We like to muse, and ponder, and pontificate; the occasional stretch is delicious, but all this frantic activity has unbalanced me. It has…

Hivemaker and the Walrus

With Peter and Andrew Little

I can be an anti-social walrus at times. I am currently sat alone in a beautiful apartment in Funchal Old Town, Madeira, while my wife and daughter are off exploring the island doing Levada walks or some such thing. We have had terrible weather here; very windy with torrential rain, but today seems much better….