I started Bee Keeping after attending a lecture on Bees and flying insects some years ago, I was so taken by the Honey Bee and it’s habits I could not wait to get my own bees.
How did I start
I joined a 6 week one night a week course on what you need to know about keeping bees, once armed with this information I proceeded to purchase a hive, this came as a flat pack and had to be assembled.
Now I had the hive I needed some bees, these I purchased as a nucleus (a small colony of bees on just five frames of eggs, brood and food) an ideal size for a beginner I was informed. Unknown to me the bees were infested with Varoa even though they came from a reputable source, because of this I lost these bees at the start of my first year of beekeeping through no fault of my own (New beekeepers please be aware this can happen as I have since found out). This disheartened me some what and I was ready to give up keeping bees, but talking to some local Beekeepers they encouraged me to carry on and raised a nucleus for me, which I am pleased to say was the real start of my beekeeping and enabled me to produce another hive from these both of which I had in my garden, the hives producing about 40lb of honey which was the icing on the cake.
Where am I now
Over the next few years and up until now I have learnt a lot about beekeeping in general, most of all knowing that bees do not read books and because it worked last time it will not neccessarilly work the next time, I have increase my stocks either by bringing on a colony of bees to produce a queen, artificial swarms or collecting swarms and hiving them. I have joined Warwick & Leamington Beekeepers W&LB a branch of Warwickshire Beekeepers Association WBKA which itself is affiliated to the British Beekeepers Association BBKA.
I have increase my hives from the starter of 2 hives to around 20 hives which can fluctuate up or down depending on the season. I move my bees to different crops to gain full advantage of the readily available nectar and to get the different honey flavours.
Where do I move my hives to
During the Winter I keep all of my hives close to Kenilworth this enables me to feed them up for the winter, treat for the varoa mite and generally keep an eye on them ensuring they are not being attacked by mice or woodpeckers.. Throughout the year I keep some of the hives near to Kenilworth for the local honey, in the spring I will move some onto local farms where they grow Oil Seed Rape, the same with Spring Beans and Borage. I have an apiary high up in the Cotswold Hills at Snowshill where I take at least 3 hives for the summer this produces a very sweet honey, I move at least 6 hives to gain advantage from the Lavender crop a very nice smooth honey, finishing with taking as many hive as possible to the Derbyshire Moors for the Heather crop a honey with a bouquet and taste all of it’s own.