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Beekeeping Courses

Beekeeping Courses..

We are half way through the season and all my remaining courses are fully booked. I think this shows that beekeeping is really growing as an interesting hobby.

I am pleased to announce that I have recently published my new dates for next season starting on the first weekend of October.

Go to for further details.
If you know anyone that might like to learn about backyard beekeeping, then please do bring this to their attention.

Thank you. Crispin

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What makes a queen bee be a queen?

For a very long time we have accepted that a queen bee is created because the female egg selected for her development is cocooned in a larger cell jammed full of Royal Jelly. A simple diet of white goo containing all the proteins, minerals and amino acids that allow her ovaries (and body) to develop in preparation for reproduction.

Well, evidence is emerging that this is not strictly true. This article is very interesting. It strongly suggests that it is not the Royal Jelly that creates the queen, more like the absence of bee bread (pollen and honey/nectar) fed to larvae that allow her to develop into a queen. Indeed, queens have been raised in a lab in Australia without the use of Royal Jelly.

Have a read of this article; I found it incredibly interesting.

Thanks to

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Over the last few years I have had hundreds of people attend my Beekeeping For Beginners course and I hope the majority have enjoyed the courses and gained something from them.

All of those that attended will have witnessed the wonderful support of my wife with her production of a delicious morning tea for us all on both days. The Devonshire Honey Cakes and the Spiced Honey Biscuits have been magnificent. They have got better and better over the years too.

I have had many requests from people over the years for the recipes and so I am now delighted to be able to inform you that I have built a recipe page on my website and have put both of the recipes up there.

I hope you find them useful.

If you have any recipes that feature honey that you would like to share with others, please send them along to me by email and I will add them to the recipe page.

These are ideal recipes for this cold weather, so snuggle up with lovely cake and keep warm.

All the best


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Bee Lore (not law)

History has demonstrated that we humans used to be pretty superstitious some time ago. I think it safe to say that we are less superstitious now than we were say a couple of hundred years ago.

But some superstitions have lasted the test of time. Did you know there is bee lore? A bit like folk lore, but directly concerning bees.

It has been the custom amongst beekeepers to keep the bees informed. It’s simply called “Telling The Bees”.

A very good friend of mine sent me this article which I am delighted to be able to share with you. Try the link below.

If you have any other examples of bee lore (or peculiar folk lore) please feel free to respond to this post.

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Mid Winter Hive Check

It was such a glorious morning today that I had to just stick my nose into a few hives and see how the bees were doing.

I was very happy to see that bee numbers were very good and that none of the hives I inspected had depleted their winter stores. I was concerned because of all the very cold nights we have had here in the hills.

But on those lovely sunny days the bees have been out and about and have definitely been finding good flowers because every hive had new honey and combs in them.

Of the 11 hives I had a look at only one did not have any brood activity which leads me to think that it might be a queen less hive. A shame as that colony always did quite well. All the other 10 had brood developing. Have a look at the size of the brood ball on the central frames from one of my hives…

Nice large patch of brood. and have a look at that lovely yellow pollen

Sadly, the temperature suddenly dropped at about 2:15 as the sun went behind the clouds so I was not able to go into any more hives. I’ll have to save them for another sunny day.

If you are getting into your hives on these sunny days, keep the visits short. You are just trying to get a snapshot of what is going on in there. To feed or not to feed? Now that is a question. Fortunately my hives seem to be finding supplies.

Don’t forget to keep records of your inspections. Remember, we are required to submit inspection notes nowadays at registration time.