Posts Tagged ‘bees’

I love buddleia!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

It’s out there now, my secret is out, I love the buddleia bushes, or more commonly known as the butterfly bush, even the common pink version which grows wild, maybe it’s the plant which attracts hundreds of insects and butterflies, and takes me back to my youth and “My Creature Club!” – hey if your reading Skeggy! Hello!

more recently there are some attractive colour variants, under the name of buddleia davidii, which are a dark blue or dark purple, and a deeper purple called “Dark Knight”, if you do not like the pink version, and also a white, you cannot mistake them, they are everywhere in the country, and seem to do very well, on old factory works, old building works etc


Buddleja davidii

Buddleja davidii, not in flower yet!

But my favourite buddleia globosa, which is a buddleia bush, with small orange balls! It’s not until you get up close that you can see the florets are the same as a traditional buddleia bush but organised into orange balls!

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

I have a few in my garden, a B.davidii and also I’m lucky to have two B. globosa, I’ve always planted buddleia in my gardens, but never seen the B. globosa for sale in garden centres, I took 10 cuttings from a plant when I lived in Warren Farm, which was the first time I had ever seen the plant, and it’s taken many many years for the plants to establish and now start to flower.

Bumble bee on Buddleja globosa

Bumble bee on Buddleja globosa

and the bumblebees love them as well!

If you do plant a Buddleja make sure you prune it because they can go wild!

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My Bumble Bees in July 2019

Thursday, July 25th, 2019
Bumble Bees

The Bumble Bees are enjoying the warm weather, it stated it was 33/34 degrees C in my car this morning! This is the third year I’ve had bumble bees, they arrived on the 4th July, and are doing much better, ordering them later than earlier in the year, with the Summer forage now available.

External Temperature

External Temperature 33 Degrees C!

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A Beekeepers Gold!

Monday, August 10th, 2015

and it’s not honey….it takes 7kg of honey to produce 1kg of bees wax! Bees wax burns clean with no soot, so that’s why it was favored in Churches and Monasteries, because it does not stain the ceilings! and many say that’s why Monks kept bees! Wax candles are usually made from paraffin!

You can see Sheldon’s support of beeswax candles here:-

As the season, winds down, I’ve started to tidy up and render this years bees wax down for wax exchange. This is from bees wax, I’ve been collecting all year, after inspections, e.g. removed from hives, queen excluders, and other bits of brace comb. Later in the year, I’ll take this wax and exchange it for foundation at Thorne. Foundation is the starter strips we use for bees to use as a template to draw out their comb. Thorne just add this and blend this with their other sources to create the foundation, so no waste, and completely recycled!

Here are some fantastic pictures of the process at Thorne, when I was lucky enough to visit, and have a tour around the factory by Gill Smith (Director and Owner of Thorne), in their Centenary year (2013).

Don’t forget Thorne Rand Open and Sale Day – Saturday 17th October, 10am.

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Bee Hives in the Snow Feb 2015

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Snow in the "Shire"!

Snow in the "Shire"!

Second time this year, that it’s snowed. so went down to the apiary, to check on the bees, and took some photos in the glorious sunshine.


Andy's Apiary

The colonies were treated by vaporising with oxalic acid crystals, one week ago, to reduce the levels of phoretic varroa destructor mites, which at this time of year are actually living on the honey bees (Apis mellifera), because my colonies are broodless at present.

The varroa destructor mite was introduced into the UK, in 1992, honey bees (Apis mellifera) have no natural defence to it, and we need to check regularly, as part of our integrated pest management, to ensure the levels are kept low, it cannot be completely eradicated (yet!), over populations of varroa destructor, can lead to colony collapse, it’s also a vector for disease and viruses in  honey bees (Apis mellifera). Varroa destructor reproduce by female mite enters the brood cell, with bee larva, just before the cell is capped, and lays her eggs on the bee larva, when the cell is uncapped, out come the young mites. So, no brood, no larva, all the mites on on the bees, so an easy target to treat, hence why we treat in broodless periods, between November – February.

How do we know, they have mites, we use a sticky inspection board, inserted into the bottom of the hive, the mites drop off the bees, and stick on the board, and then we count them! (yes they can easily be seen with the naked eye!).

sticky inspection board to count varroa destructor mites

sticky inspection board to count varroa destructor mites, brownish spot = mite !

a close up of some varroa destructor mites

a close up of some varroa destructor mites

close up varroa destructor mites, you can see their legs or mouth parts

close up varroa destructor mites, you can see their legs or mouth parts

and I added 2.5kg of ambrosia fondant to each hive. (An insurance policy, to prevent them starving – to help feed them during the winter period), and they are securely lashed down, using hive straps.


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Bees On The Move

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The winter approaches fast, I’m now taking the honey off the hives, uniting the colonies to make them stronger over the winter, treating them for varroa (mite!), and moving them to their new home…

Hive on the move, on my hive barrow (I built!)

Hive on the move, on my hive barrow (I built!), on the far right of the picture you can just make out, a nucleus box (half a hive), left to catch any stragglers left!

This is the first hive on it’s travels, this hive has given me 75kg of honey this year.

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Frosty today…

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

One of the first very cold winter mornings, -5 degrees C at 9.00am, bees are all wrapped up…


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Pure Gold – All jarred up!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Honey is now all jarred up into 12oz hexagonal jars, waiting for the labels to be printed, and then ready for sale!


So if you want to purchase any rural rustic cottage wild flower honey from the Yorkshire Wolds, let me know…

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Pure Gold

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Pure Gold – and I’m not referring to the song Gold by Spandau Ballet. I’m referring to my honey.



from a swarm of bees which arrived in June, into one of my hives, I’ve successfully taken off 15kg of honey, which is now filtered, waiting for jarring and labeling.

Here is a quick video of the extracted honey leaving the extractor and being filtered, via coarse and fine mesh filters.

Just some thanks, to Vickie and Andrew (or Andrew and Vickie) for the loan of the extractor, and advice!

Why not visit Vickie’s Website – Wordweaver Stories, and not forgetting Paul @ JLB Electronics.

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What’s killing our bees?

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Buzzing airstone

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

On these very hot summer days we are having at present in the UK, I leave the door open to the fish house to circulate the air and reduce the air temperature in the fish house to approximately 26 degrees C.

This morning I noticed a buzzing in the fish house, which sounded like a large bumble bee or hornet had got trapped somewhere in the fish house, but with all the pumps, filters, air stones running it was difficult to track down. I spent some more time this evening, and I’ve found the loud buzzing sound is being caused by a large pond air stone I have in a 200l water butt for water changes. The large water butt also amplifies the bass sound.  I’ve reduced the air flow and the buzzing has stopped!

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