The double brood box is on…

So this week I was supposed to make up ten frames and take them down to the apiary. What actually happened was that I realised I had everything to make up ten frames except the nails and couldn’t find quite the right nails in the local hardware shops, who don’t appear to sell ‘beekeeper nails’.

So I took the unmade-up frames down to the apiary, where Emma and I had an epic frame making session. Making frames is something I really suck at, but luckily there were lots of skilled carpenters about to watch and shake their heads sorrowfully. John Chapple (the queen’s beekeeper!) gave me some good advice to shave a couple of millimeters off the foundation if it’s too long to fit in the frame. Here he is showing me how it’s done:

John got the foundation in perfectly, something I continued to fail to do with the next nine frames, especially in the 27C heat. You should really do it at home with foundation that’s been in the fridge, but in the hot weather our bees have taken up the whole box this week, so we thought we’d better give them some more space before they got royal weddings on their mind too. In-between making frames there was time to have some cake:

There is a running joke going that the Ealing Association isn’t so much a beekeepers club as a tea and cake drinking club with a spot of mild beekeeping on the side. Whatever the weather, a cup of tea and a bit of something to nibble on is always available.

John Chapple then got the idea to do this with our hive:

Shortly followed by this:

I’m on the left looking nervous, Emma is on the right in the pretty bird top. Don’t try this at home kids. Emma and I didn’t get stung but John did. This must be his idea of taking it easy before his quadruple bypass heart operation later in the week. Hope he’ll be ok.

Later on we went and inspected the bees properly with bee suits and smoker. They are doing fantastically with lots of brood and stores. We didn’t see Queen Rose, as Emma has named her, but she is obviously laying well and the bees seemed happy and mellow post the John stinging incident. On Tuesday our local government bee inspector, Caroline Washington, is visiting the apiary, so I’ll go down to see that.  Hopefully she will approve of the hive and our bees will be on their best behaviour.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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6 Responses to The double brood box is on…

  1. karcuri13 says:

    I think tea and cake sounds great! I may have to institute this practice at our meetings.


  2. Our frame making did cause much gnashing of teeth and shaking of heads – almost on a biblical scale! But I couldn’t resist a bit of John- and Pat-baiting, suggesting ready-made frames from Thornes (did you hear the sharp intake of breath!) ;o) I must have been feeling naughty after eating one of your Hairy Biker cakes. I hope the queen didn’t take offence to our new frames and abscond!


  3. Carol in FL says:

    Looks like a fun way to share bees and bee related jobs. Cake is nice too…none of the bees came over to taste the frosting?

    I am a new beekeeper. Just one hive for now..thinking it is time to add a second brood box. And I have a package of small cell bees coming for my TopBar Hive on May 7. Can’t wait! So I suppose now…I’ll have to bake a cake.


    • Emily Heath says:

      Hello Carol,

      Thanks for your comment…funnily enough the bees never disturb us while we’re eating our cake, even though we’re not far away from their hives. They must have enough of their own cakes!

      I’m curious, what are small cell bees? Are they a different species to the Apis Mellifera European honey bees conventional Western beekeepers use? Mine are local bees given to me by a beekeeper three years ago and since then they’ve produced their own queens, so I’m not sure of their origins. They’re a lot darker than the New Zealand bees a friend of mine has.

      You have some beautiful photos in your blog, I have subscribed to it 🙂


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