Foundationless frames update

A few weeks ago I described foundationless frames built with vertical bamboo supports. In a related post on starter strips I explained that I was going to compare homemade (dipped) wax strips with simple wooden strips or laths, the latter made from tongue depressors. Here’s an update on the progress the bees have made with […]

Foundationless frames reviewed

One of the big successes of this season has been the use of foundationless frames. These have reduced my use of foundation by over 75%, leading to a significant accumulation of unused packets which were ordered before the season started (as an aside, if stored flat in a cool place foundation should be OK for years, simply needing […]

Foundationless frames

A discussion on the Scottish Beekeepers forums last year (and the price of foundation) prompted me to try foundationless frames. The general principle is that you build standard brood frames, reinforced with horizontal wires or fishing line, containing only a narrow starter strip of foundation. The bees build new comb, incorporating the strengthening wire or fishing line, […]

Frames

How have I managed to write over 450 posts without having one specifically dedicated to the bane of every beekeeper’s life … frame building? Actually, that’s not quite correct. It’s sometimes the bane of my life . Building frames in the height of the season can be a rather stressful process. I belatedly realise I need […]

Building frames

There’s something repetitively rewarding about building frames for the season ahead. It’s an activity I now tend to associate with early season rather than midwinter, mainly because I have to build them outdoors and it’s simply too cold or wet most winters (a misplaced hammer blow on a really cold fingertip is excruciatingly painful). Since moving to Scotland […]

Cut your losses

The stats for winter losses in the UK, Europe and USA can make for rather sobering reading. In the UK, losses over the last 12 years have fluctuated between 9% and 34%. This self-selecting survey includes responses from about 10% of the British Beekeepers Association membership (primarily England and Wales, despite the name). The average […]

Your first bees

June is a good time to start keeping bees. The long, cold, dark winter is a distant memory. The uncertainties of spring – the unseasonably warm days in March, the April (snow) showers, the “will they, won’t they” doubts over spring build up (in a cold year) or early swarming (in a warm one) – […]

It’s a drone’s life

What has a mother but no father, but has both a grandmother and grandfather? If you’ve not seen this question before you’ve not attended a ‘mead and mince pies’ Christmas quiz at a beekeeping association.  The answer of course is a drone. The male honey bee. Drones are produced from unfertilised eggs laid by the […]

Winter losses

I lost 10% of my colonies this winter. It’s always disappointing losing colonies, but it’s sometimes unavoidable. I suspect the two I lost were unavoidable … though, as you’ll see, they weren’t completely lost. April showers frosts Late April may seem like mid-season for many beekeepers based in southern England. While they were adding their […]

Lost and found

It was the Welsh Beekeepers’ Convention last weekend . This is a convention I’ve previously enjoyed attending. I remember strolling through the daffodil-filled Builth Wells Showground in lovely spring sunshine to visit the trade show. And I remember staggering back to the car, laden with items that were: too inexpensive (not cheap … there’s a difference 😉 […]