A day in the life of a beekeeper

The children’s clothes company JoJo Maman Bebe contacted me recently and asked me to write a post about ‘The day in the Life of a Beekeeper‘ – so here it is! A day in the life of a very small-scale and winging-it hobby beekeeper, that is.

I actually did some intense beekeeping prep earlier in the week, by banging together a whopping eleven frames and organising my beekeeping shed. As usual this took far longer than it should have done.  Most of the time taken seemed to involve gingerly rooting around in the spider infested shed trying to find the hammer, nails, foundation and frame parts.

Old foundation/new foundation

Above is a photo of old and new wax foundation. The old foundation has been sitting around unused too long and has gone all brown and brittle so is probably unusable now. The nice new yellow foundation on top was bought this year.

Finished frames

And here’s the finished frames. After a decade of frame making I must be improving slightly as this was the first time I didn’t bang a nail in wonky and have to pull it out.

Cornwall has been blasted by storms recently which have been battering the poor garden, so I was relieved when we got a break from the rain most of the day on Tuesday. The foxgloves and lambs-ear seem to be thriving in the wet. A queen buff-tailed bumblebee spent some time investigating a hole in a little stone wall in the garden but decided against it as a nest site. Probably too small to hold a nest! Her buzz was so loud that I heard it from several feet away.

My next beekeeping job is to paint my new nuc that I bought in the winter sales. I will then have two spare nuc boxes ready if my two existing colonies, Kensa and Nessa, want to try swarming.

I’m hoping to start selling over-wintered nucleuses after next winter (at a reasonable price), to try and make some money back from beekeeping. This seems to me a preferable way of making a small profit compared to the sticky job of extracting honey, jarring it up, labelling it and finding a buyer for it. To sell honey you need to buy or borrow rather a lot of equipment: an extractor, uncapping fork, jars, labels. To sell nucs you just need a nucleus and some healthy bees, so the focus is on the bees, which are my favourite part of beekeeping. That’s the plan anyway!

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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11 Responses to A day in the life of a beekeeper

  1. disperser says:

    I saw a few nails that weren’t quite lined up but otherwise a nice job on the frames . . . and a good plan, focusing on what one enjoys.

    Like

  2. I’m very impressed by the frame building. We have only bought the ready made frames so far and then added the wax sheets. In fact, over here it is more usual to have wired frames and add the sheets of wax to them by heating the wires electrically but there is nothing to stop you building and wiring the frames yourself. Amelia

    Like

    • Emily Scott says:

      Most beekeepers here knock the frames together in that way (and most do it a lot faster than me!). Having to heat the wires to add the wax sounds harder!

      Do you find it expensive buying the ready made frames? They can be bought completely ready made with the wax in too here, but that’s costly.

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  3. The Apiarist says:

    Hi Emily
    You can probably rescue that old foundation by running a hairdryer over it and gently warming it up. It gets rid of the whitish bloom that occurs on the wax and makes it smell much better again. Do this before you make up the frames with it as it will then be less brittle as well.
    David

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good job on frames! You are far more productive than I am. I am ashamed to say I buy them pre-made. But I do pass on my old frames to another beekeeper who recycles them…

    Like

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