NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Anybody reading this?  (Read 794 times)

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2020, 11:09:40 am »
I do not know about Shetland but my sister keeps bees in Orkney.

Yes Buttermilk I hear there is a Beekeeping Association there and there is someone in Shetland who used to keep bees, not sure if they still do but for some reason refused to sell me any  :thinking: I did try the honey once but found the flavour similar to golden syrup - I buy organic heather honey and have some everyday on sourdough toast  - yum.
If you have to feed the bees on sugar syrup then all you get is inverted sugar syrup, I wouldn<'t call it honey. And I guess in Shetland feeding the bees must be necessary as not only the season is very short, but it is windy all the time so bees will not be flying that well... I am sure you must have bumblebees up there though, maybe even a Shetland specific one?
Voss Electric Fence

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2020, 07:15:54 pm »
I think that if the plants sown don't like the conditions then they will not reseed.  I have never seen wild cornflowers near here, but you do have to have bare patches for them to get a start each year.  I worry that some seed mixtures are generic, containing plants from all over Britain, from a variety of soil and climate types, so only some will thrive in any specific place, no matter how well you grow them. Do you know what is in your new mix, or who produces it?
My own watery meadow is suffering from not having the grass cut - it will have to be scythed by hand as they are young tree establishing there, and no one has had time, so rough clumps of coarse grasses are taking over.  I have had no success with seeds except with clover and one type of 'species rich' grazing mix oversown in just one field.  Maybe we should try again  :idea:  as you are doing.  It's so wet here now that we need to stay off the land.

I'm not sure what's in the mix yet as I'm waiting for her to receive it and get back to me. 

I failed to get the hay done last year and even with the horses grazing it over the winter, it's looking like they've barely made a dent in it so I think I'm going to have to get the quad bike mower out as soon as the snow has gone and run over with that.  Depending on how it looks once it's cut, I may also need to sweep it up and add it to the muck heap (which seems a shame but I can't have it stifling the new growth I suppose).
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2020, 07:19:31 pm »
I think Shetland is just a bit too far north for honeybees - that said I have a hive that seems to thrive on being let go feral - I have not opened it and not taken honey since it was re-colonised by a swarm a few years ago. I had lost all my colonies slowly over the years, not helped by intensive arable farming (incl neonicitinoids on the rapeseed etc), but the hives are still in-situ. These incoming bees survived the "beast from the east" without any extra feed and being so late in the winter I was sure they would die. I think human management doesn't suit bees very well... but it means no honey either.

Now of course I am worried that with the UK being "free" of EU rules many of the nasties are going to come back in use...

I'm intrigued by this Anke.  I have a phobia about buzzy things, having been badly stung as a child (presumably by wasps, hornets or yellowjackets).  I've always wanted to have a hive to force myself to face the fear but am afraid that my phobia would result in neglect and I wouldn't want to do that.  I'm now wondering if I could get hold of an old hive, whether or not it may be "adopted" by wild bees that can take care of themselves...what do you think is it worth a try and if so, any suggestions on where to source an old hive/what I should be looking for?
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2020, 09:06:35 pm »
@Scarlet.Dragon why not concentrate on native bees - bumble bees and solitary bees, as well as other flying pollinators such as hover flies?  There are many, many different types of hoverflies - they don't sting, they don't buzz but they do look a little bit like wasps and flies, some even look like bees.  I had a small phobia about bumble bees when I found a very angry one caught in my baby's clothes when I brought them in from the line (that baby is now 48!). It was buzzing like mad and struggling to extricate itself.  A few years after this I realised my fear was rather silly, so I set out to quell it.  By then it had spread to honey bees, even tv pictures of them moving in the hive.  I knew I couldn't  go the whole hog and start a hive, and anyway, knowing it takes a bee's whole lifetime to make something like a teaspoon of honey, I did not want to steal their honey.  So now I concentrate on wild bees, and I find them absolutely fascinating.  First thing was to discover that if a BBee flew straight at me, it wasn't attacking, it was just going about its business, and I was in the way.  A beeline really is a beeline, whether a human is blocking it or not.  I wouldn't go so far as to lift a bee in my hand, but I would always rescue one in trouble, by other means (jam jar).  I got to like wasps by watching one way back in my allottment days, as it quartered the lettuce patch, picked off a caterpillar and staggered off to fly back with it to its nest as food for the young - what a useful insect!
So you don't have to brave a honey bee hive, just love our native flying insects  :bee: :bee: :bee: :thumbsup:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2020, 09:08:44 pm »
I think Shetland is just a bit too far north for honeybees - that said I have a hive that seems to thrive on being let go feral - I have not opened it and not taken honey since it was re-colonised by a swarm a few years ago. I had lost all my colonies slowly over the years, not helped by intensive arable farming (incl neonicitinoids on the rapeseed etc), but the hives are still in-situ. These incoming bees survived the "beast from the east" without any extra feed and being so late in the winter I was sure they would die. I think human management doesn't suit bees very well... but it means no honey either.

Now of course I am worried that with the UK being "free" of EU rules many of the nasties are going to come back in use...

I'm intrigued by this Anke.  I have a phobia about buzzy things, having been badly stung as a child (presumably by wasps, hornets or yellowjackets).  I've always wanted to have a hive to force myself to face the fear but am afraid that my phobia would result in neglect and I wouldn't want to do that.  I'm now wondering if I could get hold of an old hive, whether or not it may be "adopted" by wild bees that can take care of themselves...what do you think is it worth a try and if so, any suggestions on where to source an old hive/what I should be looking for?
No I wouldn't get any old hive - these can harbour disease and mites, like varroa. My hives were clean and probably also had some honey etc left. Sometimes beekeepers use something called swarm-lure (no idea what it is though) to try and attract a swarm. Doesn't work too often. Most likely you would end up with a wasp nest if you set up an empty hive.

I think I was very lucky, and have a suspicion that these bees came from my neighbours roof space, which was originally settled by a swarm out of my hives.
I think having set ups for bumble bees around is just as worthwhile as having honeybees, bumble bees fly in colder and windier conditions, very useful for Scotland.

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2020, 11:07:39 pm »
@Scarlet.Dragon why not concentrate on native bees - bumble bees and solitary bees, as well as other flying pollinators such as hover flies?  There are many, many different types of hoverflies - they don't sting, they don't buzz but they do look a little bit like wasps and flies, some even look like bees.  I had a small phobia about bumble bees when I found a very angry one caught in my baby's clothes when I brought them in from the line (that baby is now 48!). It was buzzing like mad and struggling to extricate itself.  A few years after this I realised my fear was rather silly, so I set out to quell it.  By then it had spread to honey bees, even tv pictures of them moving in the hive.  I knew I couldn't  go the whole hog and start a hive, and anyway, knowing it takes a bee's whole lifetime to make something like a teaspoon of honey, I did not want to steal their honey.  So now I concentrate on wild bees, and I find them absolutely fascinating.  First thing was to discover that if a BBee flew straight at me, it wasn't attacking, it was just going about its business, and I was in the way.  A beeline really is a beeline, whether a human is blocking it or not.  I wouldn't go so far as to lift a bee in my hand, but I would always rescue one in trouble, by other means (jam jar).  I got to like wasps by watching one way back in my allottment days, as it quartered the lettuce patch, picked off a caterpillar and staggered off to fly back with it to its nest as food for the young - what a useful insect!
So you don't have to brave a honey bee hive, just love our native flying insects  :bee: :bee: :bee: :thumbsup:

I've already got a good selection of hoverflies and bumbles around the croft.  I accidentally dug up a nest of solitary bees from the deep litter in the barn a couple of years ago and took great care to lift out as much as I could intact once I knew it was there and relocated them to the edge of the muck heap where they'd be safe.  There's a wasps nest in the eaves of the barn (right next to a swallows nest) and I am at the stage of tolerating that (it's only a small one).  And I have got to the point of picking up bumbles in trouble, including last year allowing one to sit on my shoulder for a good 15 minutes whilst I was out for a walk with my hands full, in order that I could get it to the nearest house for some sugared water.  I'm definitely getting better, but not convinced I could properly look after a hive and haven't managed to find a local keeper interested in siting a hive with me.  I believe the local beekeeping club has a meeting next month, so I may go along and see if anyone there is interested, particularly with the new seed mix going in come spring!
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2020, 12:37:52 am »
Ah, you're there then  :thumbsup:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Anybody reading this?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2020, 09:03:14 pm »
Yes Anke we do have lots of babbitys up here even a Shetland specific one and you're very right about the sugar syrup produced by bees fed lots of sugar. I'll stick to the heather honey I buy in - its just a romantic notion I have about keeping bees although I remember one time seeing a swarm of what looked like a football sized mass of buzzing bees in my garden and I totally freaked out :o, so maybe not the best idea.
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

 

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