Beekeeping in isolation

Spring is showing her face; the rain has relented and some eager flowers have opened up their petals for the warmth of the sun. Around us pink and yellow primroses are sprinkled, their shapes like the classic flowers children draw. A few fruit trees have started to blossom. Bright yellow dandelions and blue forget-me-nots decorate my overgrown garden.

Pink primroses

And just as all this is going on, just as the beekeeper is getting excited, we are locked in our homes by a deadly virus. There will be no friendly meet ups with tea and cake this season.

My preparations continue regardless; I must hammer together some brood frames ready to do a Bailey comb change sometime in April so that the bees can draw out fresh comb. When to do this, between looking after two small children, I’m not sure – maybe 2am?! I am not particularly looking forward trying to find the queen, as both hives have been quite aggressive this winter. I’m just hoping it was the rain and wind that made them grumpy. Last week I ended up running for it, as I made the mistake of removing the mouse guards in a bee suit but with regular shoes which exposed my socks. Their woodpecker protection (a wire cage) is off now too.

These are strange and unexpected times which have made me appreciate how easy my life was before (and still is in many ways). There was so much I took for granted. Stay safe everyone.


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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9 Responses to Beekeeping in isolation

  1. disperser says:

    Good luck with the bees and the kids, both. Glad to hear you guys are OK. Stay safe.

    . . . I got to thinking . . . wouldn’t it be nice if someone came by and treated us for the coronavirus like beekeepers treat hives for for varroa mites? Of course, I wouldn’t want someone lifting my roof and sprinkling powder all over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best wishes for a great beekeeping year, Emily. I hope the weather and flowers all cooperate.

    Your last paragraph really hit home. Every day, several times a day I run up against some “this used to be easier” moment. We’ll get through it and, hopefully, we’ll remember how good we’ve got it when we’re not in isolation.


    • Emily says:

      Thanks – as you say, it’s good to keep in mind that there’ll come a time when all this is over and we can resume ‘normal’ life again.


  3. In France we have been taught to change 3-4 combs each year. I do not think the bees would mind if you did not change all their combs on such a busy year as you have. Amelia


    • Emily says:

      Thanks Amelia – it may come to that if I’m unable to find the queen! So far I have ten frames made up now and a volunteer helper who has kindly offered to make up the rest for me 🙂


  4. beatingthebounds says:

    More than ever, I’m conscious of how lucky I am to live in the countryside with a view and a garden. Strange times for us all, but it must be especially difficult to be cooped up in a flat in a busy area. I hope all goes well with the bees and the garden and the small ones.


  5. best wishes to you and your family in these difficult times


  6. David S says:

    I hope your bees are not grumpy Emily, not good when they’re in your garden. I was chased and stung last week, so may have an issue too! I hope things work out well for you,
    All the best


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