Posted on

Happy New Year from The Bee Team

A new year and new preparations for the bees and their hives.

Today we were cleaning, sanding and repainting old bee hives to hopefully bring our hives from 2 to 6 working hives.

We had a visit from our most experienced member of the team, George, who we playfully call The Bee Master as he has more experience in raising bee hives than all of us put together. George supervised our labours to make sure we were doing a good job.

Posted on

Beekeeping at Craigie Farm

Following our advertisement in the autumn for new bee keepers at Craigie Educational Environment Project (CEEP) at Craigie Farm, we are pleased to introduce to you, not the ‘A Team’ but the new ‘Bee Team’. Paul our most experienced bee keeper(second left) will mentor Blain, (left) and Gaye and Richard (right) to build our hives from the existing 2 hives to 6 by the summer of 2018. Other members of our team is George and Willie who are our neighbouring bee keepers and mentors, and in the coming months will oversee our progress and of course without Graham Clarkson, CEEP Chair all this would not be possible.

The Team
The team

This is now the winter time and the bees are less active outside but inside the hive they are busy concentrating on feeding themselves and keeping the hive queen warm. For them to do this, we need to go and give them a helping hand by feeding the bees a ‘Fondant’ which is a sugary paste and adding warm blankets to the hives to help keep the queen and bees warm.

During the winter months the Bee Team will make new honey frames, called ‘foundation frames’ these are the base of which the bees will make either into new honeycombs for the new bee hives or cells for growing new worker bees.

Wintertime is about the preparation of making 4 new bee hives for new bee colonies to settle into and to do this we will need to make 11 frames in the brood box per hive ( the place where the queen lays eggs to create new bees) and 11 frames for each of the honey super boxes, the place where the honey will be made and stored by the bees.

Please keep following us, the Bee Team with our progress through the coming months as we prepare a safe apiary for you to come and visit from early summer 2018.

Some Images of the team and work, so far.

Posted on

West Craigie Apiary May 2016

West Craigie Apiary     May 2016

Logo
A good place to bee logo

Our apiary site is now looking good thanks to all the volunteers hard work; the first full inspection of all hive colonies has taken place. A new queen bee was found in Anna & Elsa marked and wings clipped, other hives have evidence of a queen laying. The strength of the colonies is not great but at least they have survived the winter. In general neighbouring bee keepers colonies have died off due to the poor end to autumn last year and the recent poor weather.

This month we will be encouraging all our bee colonies to expand in numbers, which will involve first ensuring each hive has a strong queen, then keeping a watch on the egg laying and brood within the frames. As well as double brood boxes per hive we have also placed on the first honey super to encourage bee storage and hopefully surplus for us to remove.

Traditionally the end of May is the start of the bee swarming season; this is the natural instinct of the bees to propagate the species by division, commonly called swarming. Hopefully we will be able to stop our hives from splitting by removing new queen cells and starting new young colonies.

We now have a functioning solar wax extractor where surplus wax, cappings, propolis from old frames can be melted down and bees wax collected.

We will still meet every Sunday and Monday afternoons, there are ample bee suits for all, to take part in the hive manipulations.

Posted on

Beekeeping Hive Talk

As you can see from attached photo the Apiary site is now taking shape, “double” brood boxes now placed on 5  hives which will lead to them being strong colonies for this Summer with  a further 4 hives awaiting bees which will be bred from existing stock later in the year.

Bees flying
Bees now waking up

Our Winter/ Spring task list is nearly complete thanks to the many attendees on Sundays & Mondays.  Work now will be on general  hive issues :- ensuring that brood frames are healthy, identifying and marking the new Queens, placing on honey supers ,  drinking tea & sitting relaxing at our bench.

There is a notice in Classroom window with walking directions down to the Apiary site to  watch the bees flying during the day.  There are  Bee Aware safety signs on fence & displayed information re bees.

We are still meeting every Sunday and Monday from 1:30 pm, but are more likely to be down at the hives.

PS  even got seed and plants in the ground

Posted on

Beekeeping Buzz

Beekeeping in March
We are still meeting every Sunday and Monday from 1:30 pm down at the hives. Jobs done so far include building ramps for the bees and laying astroturf on the paths around the area. The bees are now flying quite happily, which gives us a chance to check on their diets and where they are going. Lunch this week has been mainly from snowdrops and the profusion of catkins.

Posted on

Beekeeping in February

Apiary

February programme:

Meet Sunday & Monday 1.30pm

(If weather dry at the apiary site, if poor at Community garden classroom)

This is still the quiet period with bees being inactive & not flying, or they shouldn’t, hopefully we will not need to disturb bees this month as they have enough fondant feed. We will not know how well the individual colonies have survived this winter until it is time to place additional brood boxes and honey supers possibly around late March, we are hopeful that all 5 hives will be healthy and raring to go for the Summer .

But this “Quiet” period gives us the opportunity to carry out maintenance and prepare for the coming year; it will also give people the chance to see the parts and workings of a hive without having the “bees”

We hope the bees like their home
We hope the bees like their home

Task list:

  • Finish hard standing path around hut
  • Tidy dry stane retaining wall
  • Prepare ground at apiary for flower planting (thought we would try and compete with that garden lot)
  • Erect frame stand for boxes
  • Build lean to storage
  • Complete internal joinery to hut: ceiling trim, floor, shelves, painting and step
  • Make & fix landing boards & complete painting to all hives
  • Continue with assembly of varroa floors, frames & brood dummy frames
Posted on

Beekeeping 31 January 13:30 hrs

Beekeeping – Meet at Classroom

Sunday & Monday we will be using the classroom for nice sit down jobs assembling frames, don`t worry they come with all the pieces pre-cut all we do is put them together, and also making varroa bases. There are also other wee hive maintenance jobs that can be done inside.

Again you will not require to bring anything, we have all the tools necessary. Tea, Coffee and biscuits will be supplied by Davy and Paul .

We hope by the end of this session you will all be proficient in assembly of Brood & Super frames , (which is one of the basic skills of bee keeping) and you will also be conversant with all the elements of a full hive – without the bees!!

Posted on

Beekeeping 1 February 13:30 hrs

Beekeeping – Meet at Classroom

Sunday & Monday we will be using the classroom for nice sit down jobs assembling frames, don`t worry they come with all the pieces pre-cut all we do is put them together, and also making varroa bases. There are also other wee hive maintenance jobs that can be done inside.

Again you will not require to bring anything, we have all the tools necessary. Tea, Coffee and biscuits will be supplied by Davy and Paul .

We hope by the end of this session you will all be proficient in assembly of Brood & Super frames , (which is one of the basic skills of bee keeping) and you will also be conversant with all the elements of a full hive – without the bees!!