bees

I am now a beekeeper. One of my mentors brought me a swarm he had collected and put them in my hive on Thursday; they seem happy with their new home. I am giving each hive a name and this first queen bee is called Guinevere so I guess this is her Camelot. Most beekeepers number their hives but I won't have that many and I will need a name for the honey which I think should reference the bees who make it. She is in the larger box called the brood box - the top super is there for the feeder. You need to feed the bees to encourage them to stay. In the second photo you can just see a couple of worker bees around the entrance of the hive. This morning there was a lot of calm but purposeful activity which I hope is a good sign. The wood is there to deter foxes and weigh down the roof.
An old beekeepers' rhyme goes:
a swarm in May is worth a load of hay, 
a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon 
and a swarm in July is worth nothing but a fly
because you need the swarm early in the season to get any honey. For country folk then, hay was even more valuable than a silver spoon, or maybe it's a hint that the best honey comes in June. The oilseed rape fields are going over now so fingers crossed, my bees will forage amongst clover and other wildflowers. I am very grateful to a number of local people in my beekeepers' association for their help and to the lovely lady who lets me use her land and summerhouse. Fabulous.




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