Welcome to my new blogging adventure Bees Make Honey.
I've got an allotment where I grow stuff to eat and keep and breed chickens for eggs. I've also resumed my fishing so I can catch fish for the dinner plate too. I blog about that on http://growfisheat.blogspot.com/ but as that's getting rather full dealing with growing, fishing and eating (not to mention the odd moan), I thought I'd start a new blog about my first foray into keeping bees.
God alone knows how I'm going to fit this into my life at the moment, but hey, what's the worst that can happen? (Stung to death, heart attack through stress, over-doing it, bee stings etc? Ed.)
Now the guy over from me (G) on the allotment has kept bees for a while. Actually he also keeps Jacob sheep and turkeys too but even I know I would buckle under the weight of that lot. (Phhhew! Ed.)
So with his help, I've decided that I'll have a crack at beekeeping. There was a programme on the Beeb last year that got me thinking. Entitled 'Who Killed the Honey Bee' it was a rather gloomy documentary about the worldwide decline of Apis Mellifera, the European Honey Bee and the worry about what's happening to them. Here's a clip http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p007vhcp
I did notice last year that, despite G having several colonies of bees just a few yards from my plot, I hardly saw any honey bees at all last year, or bumble bees either come to think of it. So I'd been wondering what I could do to help out in my own small way. Last year I pegged out chunks of the plot for wild flowers, sunflowers and lupins for example.
What initially put me off from actually keeping them (apart from being afraid of being stung? Ed.) was the complexity of managing them.
G, although seemingly checking on his hives regularly, had at least four swarms last year. Most of which flew over my plot. As I emerged trembling from the car / shed when the last of the exodus had buzzed away over the fields, I would see G giving chase over the hedgerows, hoping to catch them and start a new hive (catch a swarm? Ed.)
Apparently this was down to poor management and not keeping an eye on the queen cells, something he freely admits due to lack of time.
That is a worry but I'm going to have a go this year. Those of you who have stumbled upon my blog http://growfisheat.blogspot.com/ will have read about work slacking off a bit due to the bloody recession. So I've spent a bit of time in converting my old scooter shed into a workshop full of shiny new tools (another potential hospital trip? Ed.) This means I shouldn't have any excuse in building my own hives. In fact I'm going to start today!
So if you're curious about keeping bees and want to find out just how fascinating and rewarding it can be (not to mention downright dangerous? Ed.) then drop in and check on the progress of a complete beekeeping novice.