Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Archive for the 'Bees' Category

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!

Great British Bee Count

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Great British Bee Count (19 May-30 June 2017). This year’s app is even better, with more bees and plant species, clearer identification and more information on how to help bees. The bee sightings will be mapped 

Useful beekeeping booklets for free

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Wally Shaw is a beekeeper on Anglesey who has produced some rather useful booklets!
They’re available at the WBKA library page
Absolute classic is There Are Queen Cells In My Hive Wally Shaw

Beekeeping in Manchester, Oldham and Tameside

Monday, March 6th, 2017

A new group has been set up for beekeepers in Oldham, Manchester and Tameside.
The group is known as Medlock bka – and their website is available here – Medlock Bees
he group has beekeepers from Chadderton, Failsworth, New Moston, Droylsden, Sholver, or any part of Manchester, Oldham and Tameside then please click the link and find out more.

3d printer mouseguard

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

My husband has got a 3d printer and what better use than something for the bees?
3d printer mouseguard

It’s a prototype, so we are giving it some field trials at the moment and need to test how well it stays in. It just has pegs on the back that go through the entrance.

Bees on sweetcorn pollen

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

We’ve not noticed it before, but this year the sweetcorn pollen has been attracting honey bees!

The Honey Club

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The honey clubKing’s Cross based organisations collaborate to create a family fun citizen project that will help monitor local bee numbers


Bee trail technologists make inventive use of physical web beacon prototype technology to enable community activism



The Honey Club, a partnership between King’s Cross-based youth charity Global Generation, Urban Bess and Wolff Olins, launches the 2016 King’s Cross (KX) Bee Trail App.


This citizen science project brought to life as an app-led walking tour of King’s Cross is designed to raise awareness of this fast-changing area of London; in particular the bees living there and the food and shelter they need.


There are eight stops along the KX Bee Trail, each marked with a Honey Club sign that’s powered by innovative technology. At each of the stops a beacon unlocks a new part of the app and accesses a new activity. At some locations participants are invited to learn something new about bees, at others they can take part in a bee count.


Activities unlock vouchers to some of London’s most exciting restaurants: the German Gymnasium, The Lighterman, Dishoom, The Grain Store, Caravan, The Greek Larder, Rotunda, and The Skip Garden Kitchen.


Multiple studies* show that bee numbers and their distribution are in decline globally, which will have serious implications for food production and our ecological system.


Nicole Van den Eijnde from Global Generation says: “Getting up close with bees in the middle of the city is a great way for young people to understand that we are part of an interconnected world. They move from being afraid of bees to realising how important they are and as a result this makes them want to give something back.”


More about the Bee Trail


The trail now starts at the German Gymnasium near the bird cage sculpture** on King’s Boulevard and ends a short walk away at The Skip Garden; factoring in time for the activities, it should take no more than 60 minutes to complete.


Anyone can follow the trail, track the bees, and discover hidden worlds at the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities. And by counting bees at points along the trail they will be contributing to the collection of important data. This year, as part of the expanded trail, there is new content that explains different forage and bee facts, and new vouchers to enjoy from restaurant partners.


Alison Benjamin, co-founder of Urban Bees comments, “The data will help the Honey Club to add to local information about the diversity and abundance of different bee species in King’s Cross, and to educate people about the forage they need to thrive. The data in the long term could show us if our efforts to raise awareness and provide more food are having a positive impact on bee populations.”


“The King’s Cross Bee Trail App is a wonderful and engaging way of communicating the importance of bees and their role in pollinating the food we eat here in the city,” adds Wolfgang Buttress, artist and creator of award-winning bee-powered sculpture The Hive, currently installed at Kew Gardens.


The App


An earlier version of the app was successfully piloted in August 2015. People who downloaded the app did more than 300 bee counts at three locations. The most common bees spotted were honeybees, followed by buff-tailed bumblebee and the common carder bee. In total more than 1,100 bees were counted. The information was shared with Greenspace Information for Greater London***, the capital’s environmental records centre.


From idea to reality the app took technologists at creative consultancy Wolff Olins six weeks to develop.


The App uses the physical web beacon technology, to push content to your smart device via Bluetooth; enhancing app-users’ physical experience of the trail with digitally provided information and perks.


Caroline Goodwin, from Wolff Olins’ tech team comments, “Many applications of beacon technology, in retail, casinos etc., can be pretty invasive and irritating – no one likes to receive push notification about offers they’re not interested in! We have used beacon technology to enhance users’ experience and make a positive impact in society. We see a big opportunity to use this tech in similarly positive ways in other contexts; museums, county councils and property developments for example.”


The Bee Trail app is available to download for iPhone or Android phones


About The Honey Club


The Honey Club is a partnership of Global Generation, Urban Bees and Wolff Olins with a mission to create a bee caring community in urban spaces – from rooftop to garden, hive to street, business to people.


We’re a team of designers, technologists, community activists, young people, journalists, beekeepers and gardeners who are working creatively to take on one big, sticky problem: the lack of nectar and pollen from blooming plants for bees to forage in urban environments like our home in King’s Cross.


The Honey Club is supported by members like Eurostar; interested businesses should email to join.


For more information go to and keep up to date via Twitter andFacebook.


Beehaus at Omlet

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Beehaus at Omlet

They do a lovely skep at Omlet. My husband bought me one as an alternative to sing a cardboard box for collecting swarms. It is great to use and works every time!

Queen marking

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Great queen marking video

Queen bee

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

queen bee

A friend has got a beehive in my apiary and I’ve been going out when they do their inspections.

Yesterday she pulled a frame out and spotted the queen instantly!
Can you see her?

The queen bee is the mother of all the bees in the hive. She can lay a massive 2500 eggs a day at peak. The majority of these will turn into worker bees with a few percent being drones.

The queen is visibly bigger than the other bees. She looks so easy to see once you’ve seen her you wonder how you ever missed her.
They can be quite hard to spot though.
The idea is to mark them with special paint so they stand out more clearly. There is a special colour code. This year is green. The code is WYRGB. Remember it as What?! you raise great bees! White, yellow, red, green, blue.
However I hadn’t taken my queen marking kit out yesterday to mark her so we just took a photo or two instead and then Angela carefully put the frame back in the hive.
A queen is essential to your hive – without one the bees will not survive as they can not make new bees. If they have eggs laid they can make a new queen. This takes 16 days from the egg being laid in the bottom of a honeycomb cell. It is fed lots of royal jelly which is a milky white substance and after 8 days it is capped. Queen cells are bigger than worker cells: the reason why is obvious when you see the size difference. The new queen then hatches after 16 days.
If there is still a queen in the hive then she will swarm as the bees cap the cell taking a large number of bees with her off to find a new home.