Tidying up my beekeeping bumbles

In my post a couple of weeks ago, ‘What the bees have been up to‘, I mentioned leaving Hope’s nucleus hive with some fondant and pollen in the eke, with the expectation that they would build a little comb up top in the extra space. This is what the hive looked like when I left:

Pollen and fondant in nuc

This is what it looked like a week later:

Bee city

Fondant all eaten and a new loft conversion/small city up top! So they built a little more than I expected. When I got home two weeks ago it occurred to me that I could have put some insulation in to fill the extra gap and stop the bees building. These bright ideas always come once I get home. Which would be fine if the bees were at the bottom of the garden,  but with them being around an hour away by public transport it’s not so easy to carry out these little fixes.

I spent some time carefully transferring Hope and her colony into a full-sized hive. It was quite a delicate job to remove the soft brace comb without squashing or angering any bees.   Once removed, I put the comb up above the crown board; by this weekend all the bees had left it so I was able to share a bit of hive-warm honey with some other beekeepers. We sucked its fragrant floral sweetness out of the chewy comb, cleaning our sticky hands afterwards with wipes.

Emma has an update this weekend on her blog on how Hope and Patience’s bees are getting on – Springing to life. We were able to do our first inspection of 2017 inside Patience’s large hive.

I will leave you with a few pictures of Thomas Bickerdike’s hives at the local allotment where I used to keep some bees too. We have had some beautiful sunny days recently which really show off the spring blossom.

Allotment hives

Allotment hives and blossom

Tom has built this solitary bee palace on the allotment too, so it is really a bee haven. Surely some bees, wasps and other insects will be tempted by this magnificent home.

Tom's solitary bee palace

Seeing the spring blossom reminds me of baby Tommy’s first few weeks last April. As I pushed him around flat in his pram, his hands often thrown above his head in slumber, white and pink blossom petals swirled all around us. We have survived the past year together and once again I am pushing him around under blossom, only now he is bigger and sitting upright to face the world. Happy 1st birthday baby Tommy.

Tommy and balloon

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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30 Responses to Tidying up my beekeeping bumbles

  1. Pingback: Tidying up my beekeeping bumbles | Raising Honey Bees

  2. Pingback: Tidying up my beekeeping bumbles | How To Raise Bees

  3. disperser says:

    Busy bees and busy boy . . . good job on both.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emma Maund says:

    Happy first Birthday Tommy. How fast a year has flown! xx


  5. Eddy Winko says:

    I’m getting excited now having just read your post with wonder at how industrious the bees are, knowing that we are getting our first bees at the end of the month.
    Happy Birthday Tommy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I checked my insect hotel yesterday.


  7. Some lovely pictures, especially a smiling Tommy.


  8. greenster93 says:

    I think you got there on time i had the same issue on saturday i moved the nuc into a brood box. I had a job prising the top of the nuc without damaging the roof as they had completely joined the roof to the top bars on the frames.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tommy has a beautiful smile and impressive, smart new teeth this year! Amelia


  10. Mike says:

    Good to see it’s not just me that’s busy already this year.
    One hive I shook swarmed 2 weeks ago has filled a 14×12 brood box and started to build in the roof space already. Last week I had to split another hive that was about to swarm (She left anyway 😦 If anyone in the South Wimbledon area found a swarm with a rosy pink marked queen I’d be interested to hear where she went)
    Incidentally: if I ever leave broken off bits of brace comb above the crown board I find the bees rapidly turn it into a thriving densely packed bee city requiring much smoking chiseling with the hive tool to remove. Doesn’t the same thing happen to everyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily Scott says:

      Shame to lose a queen, especially a rosy pink one! I only left the bits of brace comb above the crown board for a week. They ignored it but then they had lots of extra space down below to fill, so perhaps that distracted them. I usually find it’s safe to leave comb above the crown board a few days though. Perhaps you have extra busy bees!


  11. Dina says:

    What a wonderful post!
    Happy Birthday, Tommy 🙂 ❤

    I have just read “The history of bees” – an award winning novel by Maja Lund and loved it. Now I look at bees with different eyes. 🙂

    Happy Easter 🐣🐰🐣
    wishing you relaxing holidays,
    Dina 🌼


  12. Erik says:

    Such a lovely boy. Happy Day!

    I didn’t realize you were so far from your hives. Feel lucky to be able to have them a short walk in the yard away.


  13. Excellent post. I’m passing this on to our new beekeepers. We beekeepers tend to be an inventive sort and many new beekeepers look for creative methods to feed their bees. It might pay them to remember that as they do so any violation of bee space will be rectified by the bees. While not so much a problem with seasoned beekeepers as we remove the problem and the bees carry on. New beekeepers, however, often tend to think it best to not interfere and before long they have an insurmountable mess. Thanks for this gentle reminder that bees will be bees regardless of our wishes.


  14. Pingback: Tidying up my beekeeping bumbles | Beginner Beekeeper

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