Category Archives: Swarms

New Arrivals: The Rat Box Bees

There are now colonies in both of my hives. The Brexit Day colony are still strong, their entrance crowded with constant forage-traffic. Beside them are the Rat Box Bees, new arrivals to the garden. Their entrance is less busy – usually one … Continue reading

Posted in Experimentation, Hives, Swarms, TBH, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

ONBG meeting, 13th May 2017 – swarms and exotic hives

Eighteen folk met at Gareth’s apiary in West Oxfordshire, where he experiments with hive variations and populates them with free mated bees descended from the extensive population of local ferals. Gareth is a trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, has … Continue reading

Posted in Apiary visits, Experimentation, Hives, Meetings, ONBG, Swarms, Warré | Leave a comment

Two swarms in the same hive: an update

Last summer, I wrote about the arrival of two swarms into the same hive. A wild swarm had settled in the empty top-bar-hive in my garden, and a week later a second swarm moved in. The arrival of this second swarm … Continue reading

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Open mating and genetics – Drones

Conventional beekeepers aiming to maximise honey production suppress swarms, replace queens with ones from breeders, and cull drones as a “waste of resources”. This post covers some of the less discussed, subtle implications of drone genetics; and advantages of queens … Continue reading

Posted in Honey bee research, Research, Swarms | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Bees nest in a tree (not quite)

The picture shows an apple tree in the garden next door. Faith spotted the comb after the leaves came down in Autumn 2016. In between seeing it and taking this photo something has been munching the edges somewhat; it was … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Garden plants, Honey bee research, Local lore, Swarms | Leave a comment

“Imkers and Angels” – thoughts on a 1917 beekeeping documentary

It is winter. I have recently found a silent-film about beekeeping, a documentary entitled Het Leven der Bijen or The Life of Bees. You can watch it here. The film follows a simple and repetitive structure. First a juddering title-card describes … Continue reading

Posted in Stings, Swarms | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Racial profiling of North Oxfordshire mongrels

Like many natural beekeepers, I am interested in having locally adapted bees, especially tough “survivor stock” from unmanaged feral colonies which thrive without treatments for varroa mites. In observing my several swarm-caught colonies, all gathered ‘locally’, I have always wondered … Continue reading

Posted in Experimentation, Honey bee research, Local lore, Research, Swarms | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment