Garden And Gardener

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Archive for the 'Bees' Category

Asian Hornet Map

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Not a hugely cheery subject but one beekeepers need to be aware of: Asian hornets.
I’ve got a monitoring trap out at the moment and keep checking it regularly to see what’s in it.

The BBKA Asian Hornet map is updated each time a new sighting is confirmed by Defra.

There’s a video for the monitoring trap instructions here. Well worth making one. If you’re in a beekeeping group then you might already have discussed having an Asian hornet action team, and perhaps have had a day of making traps to ensure everyone has one.

The BBKA have a leaflet that has the identification information on. This can be given away to anyone who might spend time outside and might observe insects!

Insect photography competition

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

I’ve got lots of photos of bees, but I really need to practice taking some photos to get a really good shot for this competition. It doesn’t have to be a Bee you send a photo in of, but I’d like to think it would be!

Birth of a bee

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Absolutely stunning video. Honeybee from an egg to hatching as an adult bee. Three weeks development in 1 minute of video.

Bees everywhere

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
Bees queuing up to get on pumpkin flowers on allotment

Bees queuing up to get on pumpkin flowers on allotment

There’s tons of bumblebees about at the moment as well as honey bees. I spotted a third bee trying to squeeze into this flower and by the time I’d got my phone out to take the photo it’d decided to leave the two already in the flower to it.

It’s lovely to see honeybees and bumblebees about!

it’s not just
A mature tree can be the equivalent of an acre of forage for bees so it’s important to ask your local councils to be planting bee friendly trees when they replace trees.

And the BBKA have some info too


Friday, June 1st, 2018

As a beekeeper I am prepared to go and collect honey bee swarms. One side effect of being on the swarm collectors list is that I can calls about other bees.
Two calls yesterday from quite close by.
One lot in a bird box. Probably bumblebees I tell them, but send me a photo anyway and I’ll check.
Another lot in soffits. Again same response, but the lady wasn’t sure how to take photos as they were flying near the roof so I told her I’d manage with a silhouette of a bee.

So I got emailed the photos and yes both lots bumblebees.
I confirmed by email and sent them some info about bumblebees. They don’t stay a huge amount of time and are quite fun to watch.

Bee friendly Agastache

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Agastache Seeds – Liquorice Blue
This first-class variety produces attractive, upright spikes of hooded rose-purple blooms that are a magnet for bees and butterflies. Flowers June-September. Height 60cm (24). Middle of border variety. HP – Hardy perennial.

 An absolutely lovely plant. A friend grew some from seed this year and bought me a pot of it down. Within a minute there was a bee on it exploring it’s delicious nectar. There’s a lovely smell to the plant too. He’s suggested cutting the flowers off and drying them as pot pourri!
Add this to your garden and you’re guaranteed to enjoy both beautiful flowers and more pollinating insects! As with most bee friendly plants it’ll prefer a place in full sun!

Lovely plants and seeds

Cheapest hive tool and smoker in the UK – beekeeper bargains

Monday, June 19th, 2017

You can’t have too many hive tools? Or is that crown boards? Or both!
This is an amazingly low prices hive tool.
Stainless Steel Beehive Tool J Hook Pry Trim Bar Beekeeping Equipment

This is an absolute bargain! If you’ve mistreated your current smoker, or just fancy a shiny new one, or maybe a spare one for your out apiary, then this is a great price!

AllRight Large Bee Smoker Stainless Steel Beekeeping

Beekeeping bargains – gimp pins

Monday, June 19th, 2017

100g BUZZ Beehive Beekeeping Gimp pins / Frame nails

Price: £3.50 FREE UK delivery.


Sold by Simon the beekeeper

What do I put in a hive to catch some bees?

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

How to bait a hive to catch bees
If you have access to a frame of old brood comb, that is clean, disease free and without any honey or pollen in, then you can add this to your bait hive. New beekeepers won’t have any of this so will have to rely on a swarm lure.

You can buy them in tiny phials from various bee equipment companies, but you can also use lemongrass oil. But you have to get the right one!
You want Cymbopogon Citratus!


Buy this lemongrass oil at amazon

Don’t use honey or comb with honey in. This will not bring a swarm in but will encourage bees to rob the comb and potentially carry disease back to their own hive.
You need to have a bait hive of the right size for the bees to want to make it a home. Tom Seeley says 40l, a couple of meters up off the ground, with a 15cm2 entrance at the bottom of the cavity. Used comb inside helps entice bees as mentioned above, and it should be dry inside. A purpose built box will work. My husband made me a bait box using scaffold boards – it’s very heavy! But it worked. We made some top bars rather than leave frames in for the bees to build on.
It’d spent the winter in my shed on my allotment and I was planning on taking it to the mother-in-law’s house to put on her flat roofed garage. In the meantime it sat on my compost bin made of pallets and one Saturday I had a call from a plot holder about bee activity. A swarm was in the process of moving in as I got there! Amazing!

Bees scout out potential homes. They come on their own to start and if they investigate inside and out, and like it they go and tell other bees via dances. They recruit other bees who also come and check it out. Shortly before they move in the activity can get quite frantic.

Sometimes bees will fight over a potential home.

Cheapest bee smoker

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

I’ve spotted this at amazon – it’s the cheapest smoker I’ve seen.

  • Stainless Steel construction. Means it won’t rust and can be soaked in washing soda solution (not the bellows!) to clear ir.
  • Fire Guard. Protective safety guard to help prevent burns. Useful! But still get a bucket to keep it in – a metal one! 
  • Perforated base plate which can be removed for easier cleaning. And you should do this every so often!
  • 11 inches (28cm) tall and 4 inches (10 cm) diameter smoke chamber.
  • Leather bellows with clip. 

I lost the clip off my first smoker within a couple of weeks of starting beekeeping. My smoker is still going strong though.
I have a bundle of newspaper sheets neatly folded up in my bee box. This allows me to take one sheet off, shred it and then light this. I can then apply whatever I am currently burning. I have a bucket of last year’s pine cones and a big plastic sweet jar of sawdust available to me. You gently place some fuel in and puff the bellows until it roars. Once that’s happened add some more fuel – and it’ll smoke nicely when you put the lid on. If you do it right then it’ll stay lit for ages. Sawdust can be gently packed in, but pine cones need to have extras added if you’re staying in the apiary a while. Always have spare fuel with you and check your smoker between hives – not half way through!