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Found a SWARM of bees in your garden?

Save the Bees! Contact your local beekeeper first

2012-07-25 08.18.49What does a collectable swarm look like?

The picture shows a small swarm of honey bees which has gathered on a holly bush branch in a back garden. If your swarm looks like this – and is easily accessible then we may be able to deal with it. Typically bees will stay in this swarm cluster for a few hours before moving on (maybe even a couple of days).

For swarms found in East Lothian call Bryden 01875 811387

IMPORTANT: If the swarm is not out in the open, clustered and accessible we won’t be able to collect the swarm. In this situation please either contact your local council’s Pest Control Dept or a private Pest Control Contractor.

If I am not available or you are too far away try East Lothian Beekeepers Association

FAQs
Why call you, do I just call pest control?
Sometimes they will call a beekeeper but failing that they’ll kill the bees! We will give them a new home and look after them.

Why do bees swarm?
Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen.

Is the swarm dangerous?
No. Honey bees in a swarm are unlikely to be aggressive and sting anyone unless you attack the bees. At this stage they do not have a home to defend and they have filled up with honey in preparation for the flight to their permanent home. If the honey bees stay and construct a wax nest they will become aggressive if you disturb them.

What do you do with the collected swarm?
We give the colony a new home on one of our apiary sites.

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Harvesting honey is a real labour of love

It certainly does take many hours to extract the honey then clean up after, here’s the list of tasks!

  • First I have to protect myself from stings
  • Fire up a smoker to sedate the bees
  • Crack the hive open
  • Lift heavy boxes
  • Pull out the frames, trying not to squash bees
  • Brush the bees off the combs, or visit the day before to place a clearer board!
  • Transport the frames to my home for processing
  • Cut the wax capping off each frame with a knife 
  • Put them in an extractor to spin out the honey
  • Filter out all the wax etc
  • Clean up the floors, counter top, extractor, me!

And if that’s not enough hard work, the frames have to go back to the hives again….

This is the future of beekeeping. I’d love to convert our hives to this new system, better for the beekeeper, me, and easier for the bees. The company, Flow-Hive has raised over $6 million and has gone in to production delivering units from December 2015

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What do honey bees do all day?

You’ve seen bees buzzing around the garden but have you ever wondered what goes on inside the beehive?

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe honey bee has many duties during it’s life. You can see in the chart all the different tasks depending non their age

  • 0-4 days: Call cleaning and incubation
  • 3-12 days: Feeding larvae
  • between 6th & 10th day: First nurser flights, around midday
  • 6-15 days: Wax-making and comb-building
  • 8-16 days: Reception and storage of nectar; packing of pollen in cells
  • 14-18 days: They get to guard the entrance( this is when I see them!), clear debris and funeral bearer duties
  • 19th day: Begin to pay attention to the waggle dance (google search results)
  • 18-30/35 days: Foraging for honey and pollen ( this is when you see them)
  • 25-30/35 days: Collecting propolis

A normal healthy colony of bees will have 10,000 or less in winter to over 50,000 in the high summer. The queen can live 3-4 yrs but is only efficient for 2 yrs. She gives of a pheromone that the worker bees need to stay happy and this reduces as the queen gets older. The worker then may decide to replace her!

During high summer the foraging worker bees are working very hard and may only live for 5 weeks but during the winter can live 6 months.

In the short video below you can see the bee bringing in pollen attached to their legs…