livelightlyuk


Leave a comment

FUSSY BEES

I think my bees may be quite fussy eaters… Before they arrived I planted them a lovely patch of wildflowers.

WILD FLOWER MEADOW

WILD FLOWER MEADOW

VERBASCUM

VERBASCUM

They have campion (red and white), ox-eye daisies, self-heal, verbascum, foxgloves, thistles, knapweed, teasels, woundwort, ragwort, red and white dead nettles, speedwell, hemp agrimony, forget me nots, etc

IMG_20140712_200634

TEASELS

OX EYE DAISIES

OX EYE DAISIES

SELF HEAL

SELF HEAL

Add to this all my carefully chosen garden plants: Lavender, fennel, origano, thyme, hyssop, bergamot, spirea, sage, crocosmia, nicotiana, oriental poppies, coneflowers, californian poppies, lithospermum, chives, petrovskia, cistus, red hot pokers, scabious, blanket flower, delphiniums, geraniums, sedum, astrantia, mint, buddleia, senecio, lambs ears, roses, lamium etc…

BERGAMOT

BERGAMOT

 

ROSE William Shakespeare

ROSE William Shakespeare

CROCOSMIA Lucifer

CROCOSMIA Lucifer

BLANKET FLOWER

BLANKET FLOWER

CAN'T REMEMBER?

CAN’T REMEMBER?

ASTRANTIA

ASTRANTIA

BUDDLEIA WITH RED ADMIRAL

BUDDLEIA WITH RED ADMIRAL

Not to mention all the weeds (wildflowers) that I have allowed to make themselves at home amongst my flower beds: feverfew, musk mallow, herb robert, lemon balm, dandelions, bindweed

FEVERFEW

FEVERFEW

HERB ROBERT

HERB ROBERT

MUSK MALLOW

MUSK MALLOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the hedgerows full of blackberry flowers, wild roses, honeysuckle, crab apple blossom, hawthorn and blackthorn – these last three have finished flowering by now as have most of the tree blossoms – willow, oak, beech, birch, alder and ash.

DOG ROSE

DOG ROSE

HAWTHORN

HAWTHORN

CRAB APPLES

CRAB APPLES

BLACKBERRIES

BLACKBERRIES

ALDER

ALDER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the only flowers I have observed my honey bees on in my garden are….buddleia and lambs ears. – especially the lambs ears.

BEE ON LAMBS' EARS (Stachys lanata)

BEE ON LAMBS’ EARS (Stachys lanata)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone thinks this post is just an excuse to put up photos of lovely flowers you are absolutely right!

Advertisements


1 Comment

More Naughtiness – Or Bad Beekeeping?

My Beehives

My Beehives

Well, my second queen bee, Victoria has left her palace to set up in the wild with a load of her workers. Not sure when they went but they’ve definitely gone.

An experienced beekeeper who has been advising me says that this has been a really bad year for swarming. The warm June and high pollen levels have convinced the bees that they can make a go of it on their own and they’ve followed their natural instinct to spread out and start new colonies. (A bit like the British in 200 years or so ago. Hmmm maybe Victoria wasn’t a good name to choose for one of my queens?)

I suspect my problems have been caused mainly by me being a bad beekeeper. I don’t think I have been ruthless enough in destroying the unwanted queen cells which has encouraged the bees to swarm. So today I went through all the frames and squished every single queen cell except one nice big one in each hive. Hopefully I’ll soon have 2 new queen bees who will be better behaved than Liz and Vicky.

One consolation is that I have inadvertently boosted the local wild honey bee population which can only be a good thing.


1 Comment

Naughty Bees!

My followers will recall that I became the proud owner of two beehives last month each with a queen and a nucleus of 15-20,000 workers and a few drones. I named the queens Elizabeth and Victoria and their hives (palaces) Sandringham and Balmoral respectively. Everything has been going on brilliantly – the numbers of workers increasing and the honey stores building up. Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting have been very docile and well mannered and her palace and all her children have been very well tended. Victoria’s workers have been a lot more feisty and less well brought up but the numbers in Balmoral have increased more quickly than in Sandringham. So much so that last week I noticed some queen cups had been made and wondered if it was a sign they were thinking about swarming. However I had been told more than once that they probably wouldn’t bother swarming in their first season so not to worry too much. No sign of queen cups in Sandringham where the ladies were quietly going about their business as usual. I usually check the hives on Friday/Saturday each week provided the weather is OK and this Friday I went through Balmoral first. I immediately spotted a lot of queen cells with big, fat grubs in them. This is a sure sign that the colony is preparing to swarm. The new queens would emerge and whizz off to pastures new with half of Victoria’s workers or Victoria herself would clear off with 1000’s of her girls, leaving the new virgin queen to take over what was left of the old colony. This would result in insufficient honey for us humans if the bees were to have enough to last them through next winter. “Eek!” I thought. Victoria was wandering around amongst the bees so I (look away now if you’re squeamish) set about squishing all the princesses in their cells. I decided it was lack of space to lay her eggs that was causing this behaviour so I put a super on top of the brood box and beneath the queen excluder to give Victoria more space to lay her eggs. Fingers crossed! In Sandringham I was surprised to also see lots of queen cells with larvae inside. (Gruesome bit coming up) I set about squishing them as before. I worked my way through all the frames without spotting Elizabeth but there were quite a few eggs in the cells so I wasn’t too concerned. – If there are eggs there must be a queen in residence. Afterwards I couldn’t stop wondering if all was well with Sandringham and Elizabeth. Were there fewer bees than there had been last week? I decided to go in again and check on Saturday. Well, I opened up Sandringham and went through all the brood frames three times – no sign of Elizabeth. And there were definitely fewer bees. Conclusion – Elizabeth had zoomed off with half her ladies in waiting to start a new colony somewhere else. And I had murdered all the princesses! Or so I thought… Luckily I found another queen cell that I’d missed tucked into a corner so I’m hoping that, with the care of her sisters, a new queen will emerge in a week or so to continue the dynasty. I can’t believe that my nice, quiet, well mannered queen has been so treacherous. Still, the good news is that I also checked up on Victoria and she was happily wandering around her new loft extension and has already laid lots of eggs. So, hopefully the crisis has been averted. I should get some honey from Balmoral this season. I think Elizabeth II will have to concentrate on building up her household staff at Sandringham this season and I will look forward to some honey next year!

Queen Cell under Construction

Queen Cell under Construction

Queen Cups

Mini Beekeeper

   

No my hat is not on fire!

No my hat is not on fire!


Leave a comment

Day 27 and 28 – extreme failure…but brilliant bees!

For the past 2 days I have been really struggling with a massive headache so my journey towards a more minimalist life has ground to a halt.

I will continue tomorrow with the remaining 15 things from day 26.

Saturday will be my new Day 27.

On the plus side, my bees are doing really well. I have named the queens Victoria and Elizabeth. Victoria’s hive is called Balmoral and the bees are using all 11 frames in the brood box with sealed brood in 6 of them. I have therefore put the queen excluder and my first super on top today. Elizabeth’s hive is called Sandringham and they are also doing very well. This was a smaller Nuc to start off with so they are not quite so far ahead. I have left them with just the brood box for now. They are only using 8 of the 11 frames so far but I’m sure by next week I will be able to put a super on top of this hive too.

Here is a picture of some of my lovely bees:

MY SANDRINGHAM LADIES HARD AT WORK1

MY SANDRINGHAM LADIES HARD AT WORK

 


Leave a comment

Day 20 and BEES!

Today is very exciting for me. I have taken delivery of 2 hives, each containing 15-20,000 honey bees. They are now happily buzzing around in my garden collecting nectar and pollen and doing the things bees like to do. My 2 lovely queen bees are called Elizabeth and Victoria and are already busy laying loads of eggs. I will leave them to settle in for a week or so now and, when I next go into the hives I will take some photos of them to post on here.

Despite acquiring 35,000 new “pets”, I have managed to remove 20 things from my house which I don’t need:

  1. A pair of waterproof trousers (I have another pair which fit me better and how many pairs of waterproof trousers does one woman need?)
  2. A set of baby reins – youngest children (my twins) are now 6 1/2 so I don’t think they’d be prepared to be seen in them, even if I could squeeze them in to them.
  3. A pair of bath taps – been in the garage for about 5 years.
  4. Another shoe horn – where have they all come from?
  5. A decorative tin which is very nice but not fabulous.
  6. A too small jacket.
  7. Some too small hats.
  8. A body fat gauge. I can see it without making myself feel any worse by measuring it.
  9. A cleaning smock. Bought with good intentions but never worn and there’s no point keeping something which I ought to use but don’t.
  10. A too small rugby shirt.
  11. Some odd paper party plates
  12. A DVD which we have another one the same.
  13. An old baby blanket. (but no babies).

All of these things have gone to the charity shop.

I have thrown away:

  1. Some bent coat hangers.
  2. Some rusty nail scissors.
  3. A holey hoover pipe.

I have put in the recycling:

  1. 3 out of date calendars
  2. A pile of magazines which I will never have time to read.
  3. A tatty old coat – I know I could wear it in the garden but I have another, slightly less tatty old coat which will do that job.

I have chopped up for firewood:

  1. A broken wooden high chair – was it going to repair itself and become safe for all my babies?

So 13+3+3+1=20!

What on earth will I manage to find to clear out tomorrow?

I will spare you another photo of my overcrowded house today so here is one of my lovely dog, Ivy who has been dressed by my daughters, Esther and Martha. Ivy is scared of me in my beekeepers suit! Hopefully she’ll get used to it.

Princess Ivy