Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Last winter I took an course of evening classes at the local college in the ancient art and science of beekeeping. When I tell people, their usual reaction is "What made you want to do that?" There's no simple answer to that question.

You might expect me to say that I have been fascinated with bees since I was a kid, or something like that; but it was just one of those things that seemed like a cool idea. There's lots to learn about the husbandry of the bees, and surprisingly to me a lot to learn about the production of honey. So I joined the college course and local beekeeping association, read extensively on the subject, and built two hives. All I was missing were the bees.

My first colony has been stocked from a guy who had more bees than he needed. They came with adult bees, larvae, and eggs on established comb. The queen is marked and clipped. This colony are in the garden at home, in a great location by the back window. I can sit and watch the activity from the comfort of my armchair, and the kids have all had a turn coming out with me to inspect the hive and manage the bees.

The second colony is to be stocked from a swarm. I'm on the list to receive a swarm when members of the public report one -- so when people call the Police or Local Council to report a swarm of bees I'll go out and take them. Last Friday I went to collect a decent sized swarm, and went through the motions of hiving them. In the picture you can see the bees going up the ramp into the hive I have set-up near work. Unfortunately the bees took a dislike to the hive for some reason, and three days later they had decided to look elsewhere. So I'm back down to one colony and waiting for another phone call.


Sean Qiu said...

"What made you want to do that?"
I have the same question :)

tim said...

Hi Sean,

Not sure, as I'm not even very fond of eating honey! But it is a fascinating hobby with lots to learn.