A sighting of our bees

Yesterday I went down to the apiary to check on the bees’ fondant. So far they have made a couple of holes and I could see them nibbling away. We will keep an eye on them through these new spy holes during the coming weeks, to make sure they don’t run out.

Ambrosia fondant

It was a very mild winter’s day, around 8°C.  The bees were flying, particularly the yellow bees born from imported New Zealand queens. Our darker bees did not seem to be flying so much; this is probably a good thing as they will be conserving their energy more effectively.

Coffee cake

Coffee & walnut cake decorated with chocolate and hazelnuts.

Something like ten of us turned up, and we managed to eat up all the coffee cake I brought. This one did not rise particularly well, so I made up for that with lots of decorating! The apiary robin put in an appearance and Don rewarded him/her with some mealworms.

Some amusing bee banter was had. John suggested that if our bees are ignoring what our books say, we need to start reading the books to the bees! Don responded that he’ll sit on a chair and arrange his hives around him in a circle, before reading them foraging tips as the sun rises. Best not to read them anything about swarming, in case they get ideas.

The elder beekeepers are planning a winter walk. This is going to start in a pub and then end in a pub, possibly with another pub in the middle, so I will be intrigued to see how far they get.

Are your bees eating up their winter stores quickly? Not long now till the shortest day of the year and then the coming of new shoots with the snowdrops of January.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper living in Ealing, west London. I have been keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary since 2008 and created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully - future successes. Busy taking the British Beekeeping Association module exams too!
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20 Responses to A sighting of our bees

  1. Mei says:

    I’ve found that some of the bees are more voracious than others – haven’t had to feed the darker bees as much as the yellower ones – probably related to how active they are – or maybe the darker bees tend to be more frugal! Like yours we found that the yellower bees and the carnie crosses were all over the apiary on Saturday! Whereas the Buckie crosses weren’t as active. And I agree, don’t mention the ‘s’ word!

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  2. I love the idea of the bee keepers reading to the bees! The cake looks delicious and was obviously well appreciated.

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    • Emily Heath says:

      Wonder if we could record tapes of us reading and leave them to play outside the hive entrance! I’ve heard some farmers play their cows music to increase milk production…

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      • Mei says:

        haha thia reminds me of something I’d read somewhere – a beek once left an ordnance survey map in the roof of the hive (I think he must also leave the feeder holes uncovered) so the bees know how to find their way home 😀

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  3. Too many pints of ale if they are going to start reading the bee books to the bees! 😀

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  4. Perhaps for London hives a trusty ‘B to Z Atlas’ on the roof would be better than an OS map?

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  5. So our elders are planning a winter walk? Sounds like I missed quite a lot last Saturday, not least John’s new pink camera! 😉 I like the idea of reading to our bees next year, perhaps a text entitled ‘Why all good bees make honey and never swarm’?

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  6. beatingthebounds says:

    “The elder beekeepers are planning a winter walk. This is going to start in a pub and then end in a pub, possibly with another pub in the middle, so I will be intrigued to see how far they get.”
    Isn’t that more usually termed a pub-crawl?
    How come only the elder beekeepers get to go? Do the younger keepers lack stamina?

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  7. Alex Jones says:

    I recently purchased a book about beekeeping: “keeping bees a complete practical guide” by Paul Peacock.

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