Are You A Social Bee Or Solitary Bee?

Are You A Social Bee Or Solitary Bee?

Confession. After a day with my wife, my toddler and my four month old son, I sometimes feel an incredible urge to do a bee inspection. After dealing with Peppa Pig, a newborn crying and my wife’s ‘helpful feedback’, the sound of 50,000 buzzing bees suddenly seems like calming silence.

And I wonder how many of us are attracted to beekeeping, not simply because it gets us back to nature or because we relish the challenge of making our own honey, but because this is a hobby which is a solitary one?

Do you prefer your own company or the company of others? Do you get advice from books or phone a friend? Do you stay in and relax or attend local beekeeper association meetings (or perhaps you’re just too busy)? Do you learn about beekeeping by yourself or as part of a study group?

I’m interested if readers of this blog are more like social bees or solitary bees.

Are you a social bee or solitary bee?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Please comment further below.

The Super Results Are In

Forget that EU vote, don’t worry about the Scottish Referendum and stop dialling the Big Brother voting line (somehow I doubt any beekeeping types would) … it’s time for the results you’ve been waiting for. Yes, in my completely non-scientific poll you guys have said I probably need less than 8 supers for my 4 hives.

This seems reasonable but I must admit I’m getting a bit greedy with my appetite for supers. It’s the place where bees store their honey after all and I don’t want to restrict their ability when there’s all this glorious nectar about. Obviously I will abide by the results but there’s a Maisemore sale on Saturday which makes it very hard!!  I’ll let you know if I resist the temptation…

In the meantime, here is a photo of my 4 hives with 5 supers.

4 Hives With 5 Supers - June 2014
4 Hives With 5 Supers – June 2014

Hive Update

Some strange goings on in Hive Two. One swarm cell in centre of hive and one swarm cell at the bottom of a frame. She’s a new Queen and laying well.  If they were planning to swarm there would normally be about 10 swarm cells. Are they thinking of supercedure? I moved the frames around and I’ll see what’s happened at the weekend.

Read More

How Many Supers? Vote Now!

I have been overly optimistic in previous seasons when estimating how many supers (boxes on top of the hive where the bees store honey) I need, so this time I thought I would ask you guys for a more objective estimate before I buy any more.

So to help estimate:

  • I have 4 hives with mated laying Queens
  • One hive has ½ a super of nectar, the brood box is full of bees and has a laying Queen, but for a 2-3 week period (end May – early June) there was no laying queen as the hive swarmed
  • Three hives have 6 frames of bees, mated queens that have been laying for about 4 weeks and are still drawing out foundation in the brood box. No supers on top.
  • Weather: Let’s assume a decent summer
  • Each super holds 25lb of honey

How many supers do you think I will need this summer?

  • A. 4 supers (i.e. 1 super per hive) (30%, 3 Votes)
  • B. 5-8 supers (i.e. 1-2 supers per hive) (40%, 4 Votes)
  • C. 9-12 supers (i.e. 2-3 supers per hive) (20%, 2 Votes)
  • D. 13-16 supers (i.e. 3-4 super per hive) (10%, 1 Votes)
  • E. More than 16 supers (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

Loading ... Loading ...

This poll ends on 30 June 2014.  Also – I would be interested in comments on how you have made your estimates.

Beehive, Potatoes, Globe Artichoke
Beehives, Potatoes & Globe Artichoke – June 2014

Read More

What is your attitude to beekeeping? Please vote.

Quarterly Beekeeping Attitude Survey

01 January – 31 March 2013

I was surprised when I started beekeeping, how many beekeepers were frustrated and fed up with it.  Fed up with the effort, fed up with the bad weather, fed up with all the bee mites and parasites.  But history records that beekeepers have been planning to give up beekeeping since at least the 1600’s due to the challenges of beekeeping and the weather; and there is hope for the future.  There are efforts to select more hygenic bees which are better able to live with varroa.  There is more information about beekeeping good practice.  And the weather, surely cannot be as bad as 2012. (OK – it probably can).

So, with this in mind I thought it would be interesting to run a Quarterly Attitude Survey to see how people are feeling about beekeeping as the seasons progress.  Is the first quarter of 2013 to be the Beekeeping Winter Of Discontent or Winter Of Hope?

Please vote in the survey below and encourage your beekeeping mates to do the same.  I’ll write up some conclusions and keep running the quarterly surveys.

What is your attitude to beekeeping at the start of 2013?

  • A. Negative - I am planning to give up (1%, 1 Votes)
  • B. Neutral - I will see how it goes this year (6%, 7 Votes)
  • C. Positive - I find it very frustrating but will continue (12%, 13 Votes)
  • D. Very positive - I love it and plan to continue for the rest of my life (81%, 89 Votes)

Total Voters: 110

Loading ... Loading ...

I am most likely to stop beekeeping, because:

  • A. Generally it's too frustrating and too much effort (2%, 2 Votes)
  • B. Varroa and other baddies take the fun out of it (10%, 9 Votes)
  • C. The weather is not good for the bees (2%, 2 Votes)
  • D. My colonies got wiped out (8%, 7 Votes)
  • E. I am not producing much honey (3%, 3 Votes)
  • F. My back is now aching (4%, 4 Votes)
  • G. It's too expensive (2%, 2 Votes)
  • H. My bees keep swarming and annoying neighbours (2%, 2 Votes)
  • I. I am allergic to bees (3%, 3 Votes)
  • J. Nothing could put me off (55%, 51 Votes)
  • K. Other (please comment below) (8%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 92

Loading ... Loading ...

What is the single most important reason you enjoy beekeeping?

  • A. I am a commercial beekeeper and it makes money (3%, 3 Votes)
  • B. I love honey (1%, 1 Votes)
  • C. I like working with bees (48%, 48 Votes)
  • D. It connects me to nature and grounds me (26%, 26 Votes)
  • E. The challenge - I don't like to give up or be beaten (12%, 12 Votes)
  • F. I want to save the planet (4%, 4 Votes)
  • G. It gets me out of the house (2%, 2 Votes)
  • H. Other (please comment below) (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 99

Loading ... Loading ...

How many years have you been a beekeeper?

  • A. 1 year (21%, 22 Votes)
  • B. 2-5 years (45%, 46 Votes)
  • C. 6-10 years (10%, 10 Votes)
  • D. 11+ years (24%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 103

Loading ... Loading ...

Any further thoughts or feedback on the survey, the questions or the results, then please comment below and I’ll aim to improve on this first attempt.

If you want to receive future posts and conclusions of this survey, you might want to subscribe.  Or before you subscribe, you might want to check out some of the posts such as The Honey Jubilee – But Where’s My Queen.