Wednesday 30 March, 2016
When we moved to Dalmore in 2010 the prospect of establishing an apiary was something that excited us all. We got our first bees in 2011, and since then my dad has been looking after them with very little help from the rest of us, other than to eat the honey.
Last year he decided he'd like a break from the responsibility, so over the winter I took a beginner's bee-keeping course at the East of Scotland Beekeepers' Association, and now have the terrifying prospect of taking charge of the apiary!
Wednesday 7 September, 2011
We are beginner beekeepers - John, my father-in-law, is the main man. We bought one complete hive a few months ago and they seem to be doing well. There seems to be lots of forage around - our ivy is just coming into flower - and John's had to add a couple of supers (they are the bits of the hive where the honey is made and stored).
Thursday 21 July, 2011
We're getting a hive of bees tomorrow night. I'm quite excited :-)
Friday 16 April, 2010
It's our first apiary visit on Sunday and, fortunately, our bee suits have arrived. I think I look rather fetching in mine, even if the dogs were a bit freaked and Dan could barely suppress a grin.
We've bought khaki rather than white, so it looks a bit less like a police forensic team. The suits were also available in latte, aqua and day-glo orange!!
I hope the weather is good on Sunday - wet mesh doesn't appeal.
Saturday 10 April, 2010
Our beekeepers' association has a talk from an officer in the Bee Inspectorate on Tuesday. It was really interesting and he seemed very nice and helpful. The role of the Bee Inspectorate, which is part of SGRPID (Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspection Division), is to deal with notifiable diseases of bees - mainly American and European Foul Brood. All Association members are being asked to provide details of where they keep their bees so that if there is an outbreak of either disease, the Inspectors can notify local beekeepers to be on the lookout for infection. Both diseases can devastate colonies, so close inspection, good biosecurity, hive hygiene and varroa control are really important. I'm so glad we'll have an experienced mentor to help us.
Monday 29 March, 2010
Well, that's the theory part of the beekeeping course done. I'm planning to read over my notes again this week and order my bee suit. Our first apiary visit is on 18th April and the second on 2nd May - I'm going to feel like a right pretender in the bee suit! I think I'll scrunch it up beforehand so it doesn't look TOO new.
We get our equipment on 6th April at the next Association meeting, which is a talk from the Bee Inspectorate.
I drew a circle on the map of the area around our new house with a mile radius, to get some idea of the area our bees will cover. It includes a fair part of Buddon Ness but not as much as I expected. Once we move up, we'll do a little survey to see what trees and plants are around that might suit our bees.
Monday 15 March, 2010
I saw my first bee of the year today. We have some heather flowering, so I hope it got a feed. We're on the second last week of our beekeeping course this week. I'll miss it because I'm working, but John will keep me up to speed.
Last week's lecture covered diseases, pests and illnesses. It's the part that makes you think "Why am I doing this?". We covered varroa and the foul broods plus other less common problems. One of the experienced beekeepers told me he's never seen either foul brood infection in 20 years. I hope we don't either :-(
Sunday 21 February, 2010
Well, it's week four of our beekeeping course tomorrow. Week one was an introduction and bee biology; week two was equipment (and we were given catalogues away with us!!); week three was handling bees (without actual bees) and week four is swarming.
Last week we also had a demonstration of how to light a smoker. It all looks very simple in the hands of an expert. Dan flicked through the catalogues and asked if we needed one of evrything - I said no, we needed two of somethings and none of others! I'm not sure if this made him feel better or not.
Sunday 31 January, 2010
Dan's dad and I started our beekeeping course on Tuesday. Run by Dunblane and Stirling Beekeepers' Association over about eight weeks, it was very enjoyable and very interesting. Thirty three people had signed up for the course and we all turned up, which is pretty good, I think.
First week was and introduction and a bit about bee biology, covering taxonomy and physiology. Much of it was introductory and future sessions will look at things like equipment and swarming in more detail. Swarming seems to be a major issue.
Sunday 10 January, 2010
I start my beekeeping course on 26th January. I'm quite excited about it and a wee bit apprehensive. The best thing would be for me to be stung early on, so that I know how bad (or otherwise) it is - I've only been stung by a wasp once, when I was about six maybe, so Im pretty sure it's not as bad as I remember.