Looking back on 2014, a fantastic year of beekeeping

I first started beekeeping in the summer of 2008, having taken the Ealing Association’s excellent annual beekeeping course for beginners in spring 2008. Since then, beekeeping has taken me on a journey I could never have anticipated – to exams, having a blog, meeting beekeepers from distant countries, being sent a book to review, getting interviewed for a podcast and student dissertations, helping teach beginners on the Ealing course and most of all having so much fun with the bees and beekeepers at the apiary.

I’ll tell you a secret – I need the bees much more than they need me. So thank you to our bees for a fabulous year and all the honey. Here’s some memories of 2015:

Snowdrops in February

I’m always excited to see the first snowdrops of the year. This photo was taken in February 2014 – I reckon they’ll appear at least two weeks earlier in 2015.

Clare's banana & chocolate chip loaf

Clare’s banana & chocolate chip loaf

Eating Clare’s chocolate and banana loaf in February – one of the first of many delicious cakes and warming cups of tea.

Close up crocuses

Can you see the bee?

The first crocuses follow the snowdrops. Happy Days.

Looking at beautiful capped honey

Looking at beautiful capped honey

A beginner inspecting our hives on a sunny March day. Once March is over I feel our bees have safely survived the winter. I’ve been very lucky and haven’t lost any bees yet since I started in 2008.

Bumble on nettles

Bumble on nettles

How I love to see bumbles flying again too. This was taken in April 2014.

cropped-l1050861-e1373223537223.jpg

One of our beautiful queens.

Hurrying in from the rain

Hurrying in from the rain

And here I am being a queen for the day 🙂

Apis dorsata combs

Apis dorsata combs

Seeing Apis dorsata colonies from far away, on honeymoon in Borneo.

Bramble flowers against the sky

It was such a glorious summer, one of the best I can remember. Warm and sunny, with light rain now and again to keep the nectar flowing.

Andy Pedley and Scarlett blowing out his cake

Andy and his great-niece Scarlett blowing out his cake.

Andy Pedley had a birthday, here he is blowing out the candles on his magnificent skep cake.

Honey buckets

How happy and grateful we were to finally harvest some honey, after many years of barely any. And we left plenty for the bees – each hive went into winter with a super of honey as well as a full brood box.

Honeycomb held up to the light

Comb = home.

Simba keeping watch

Simba keeping watch @Clare Vernon

Photo of Clare’s cat Simba included because, well, he’s incredibly cute. Best mouse guard  any beekeeper could hope for.

Wax biscuits by Judy Earl

Wax biscuits by Judy Earl

Judy Earl’s stunning wax biscuits at the London Honey Show in October.

Christmassy hives

And so here we are. A successful year, in which Emma and I kept our bees alive and harvested honey. It was not a good year internationally in many ways, full of harrowing events. Locally too, there have been tragedies. I am so grateful to have had a good year and to have my bees and a beekeeping partner with plenty of common sense and organisational skills 🙂

Happy Christmas everyone, wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful 2015.

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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14 Responses to Looking back on 2014, a fantastic year of beekeeping

  1. clare1023 says:

    lovely photos – and thank you too for including Simba and my cake !

    Have a lovely Christmas and fantastic New Year.

    much love Clare

    Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:51:44 +0000 To: clarecvernon@hotmail.co.uk

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  2. Grower says:

    Happy Christmas and the best of everything in the New Year to you and your bees!

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  3. Ah, you’ve pipped me to the post of my new year round-up! It’s a lovely look back Emily, here’s some more picture highlights of our best season with the bees this year: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152421096058383.1073741856.750843382&type=1&l=fdb8d10880

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  4. Thanks for a lovely review of the year. Do have a good holiday break.

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  5. Jonathan Harding says:

    Thank you Emily for all your shared Beeland joys and sorrows and helping us to see things differently through compound eyes!.
    Wishing you both a very happy first Christmas and New Year in your married life.
    Rosy and I are coming up for 50 years together despite ‘there being several thousand of us in our marriage’!
    Maybe the bees help!

    Before I forget ,Philip Strange asked me about scientific evidence as to the effects of cumulative pesticide residues in the human body and the link below about DDE is interesting if it will open.
    http://news.emory.edu/stories/2014/01/ddt_alzheimers/campus.html#.VIXdC5mZQO8.email

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    • Emily Scott says:

      Thank you Jonathan and congratulations to you and Rosy – a great achievement. I feel sure the bees bring good luck and harmony to a home, as well as a certain stickiness.

      The link is interesting, thanks. Makes me think I should eat more organic food.

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  6. Hi Emily,
    I haven’t been able to get out much this year (literally and online) – 2 young children now!
    You’ve had a great year. I think we’re getting better at this beekeeping.
    I managed to find some time over Christmas to write about the Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida. As you know it’s likely to come here in the future. Something else to keep us up at night!
    Have a great 2015.

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    • Emily Scott says:

      Thanks Roger, yes I can imagine those wee two potential beekeepers are keeping you busy. I am just hoping that our cold weather keeps the beetle at bay, we have enough pests as it is!

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  7. A wonderful year! You will have to go some in 2015 to top it but I have a feeling you will already have plans ripening to do just that. Amelia

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