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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Setting up a new hive

I have bought a second-hand WBC hive from eBay. Nice chap in Wellington, Somerset. It's a bit (wax)moth-eaten, but perfectly serviceable. And being made of cedar, it's light.

I have set it up in a small paddock next to my friends D&D house - and it look splendid against the blackthorn blossom.

It's facing east - so it'll get the morning sun. and get the bees out and about. So - lesson learned (at last) from the hive in my garden, which is under a north-facing wall, and doesn't get a lot of sun.

I have added a vial of swarm-lure. This is an artificial pheromone that will lure any swarm that is within sniffing distance (say, about half a mile). The makers claim that 50-80% of hives set up in this way will attract a swarm (provided the swarms are there at all).

It's a cheaper way of getting bees than paying £150 for a nucleus colony. Although, of course, you get what you get. And that might be a diseased colony with all sorts of maladies. It's a risk I'm prepared to take - because there are no other colonies on this site that would be infected.

The site is protected by these ferocious guard-sheep.

On second thoughts, any herd of animals that are known by their first names cannot be that fierce.

(Photos by Tom Summers, Guardian Competition-Winning Photographer.)


  1. Fascinating subject Stephen.

    One of my neighbours was painting two new hives yesterday when I drove past.

    Suddenly, I have noticed lots of hives appear in the fields where the rape is blooming (what a picture).

    Yesterday, while driving through the lanes to Monflanquin with my children we passed through a black cloud of honey bees on the road.

    I reversed back slowly into this cloud and we sat for about five minutes whilst (several million I guess) bees swarmed about.

    The hives were about fifty metres away.

    When I drove back about fifteen minutes later the swarm had dissipated and only a few remained - although I could see activity at the hives.

    Adding your blog to my favourites Stephen :-0))

  2. Welcome Philip and thanks for your comments.

    Oil Seed Rape yields about 120lbs of honey to the hectare. So you can work out the revenue at £4 a lb.



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