Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bees are waking up. Bee ready!

Sorry for the gap in these blogs, wow time does fly when your a beekeeper!

So the weather is on the change and a few sunny days have brought out some flowers, The trees are now budding and our bees are bringing in the first pollen on 2015. Our advise is to BEE PREPARED!

Now is the time to make a concise list of all the equipment you need to either replace or upgrade. Get all your frames nailed and waxed. We suggest making far more than you think you will need this year. Its better to have too much, than not enough. We see so many panicked beekeepers coming in the shop desperate for a super, brood box, queen excluder, because their bees have over developed beyond what they imagined or prepared for. 

By taking note now and getting as much done early, will really make your beekeeping hobby much more enjoyable. So what to consider:

1 Hive stands in good shape? Need a paint up or repair.
2 Extra supers and brood boxes in reserve and ready.
3 Ample smoker fuel ready for the season.
4 2015 Action Plan. Consider what you wish to achieve this beekeeping year and make it happen.
5 Review your 2014 beekeeping notes ands learn from your mistakes or achievements.
6 Clean, clean, clean.. Make sure all your equipment is clean and ready.
7 Make sure your bees have plenty of stored food and step in to help if they don't
8 Keep them protected from woodpeckers, mice, winds, falling branches and vandals.
9 Check all your honey extraction equipment is in good working order before it is needed.
10 Check your protective cloths to make sure they are still bee proof.

We have begun our 2015 prep for the year ahead and have been making hundreds of wooden beehive stands over the last weeks. We all enjoy crafting hand-made bespoke beehive parts for our apiary sites. There is nothing as enjoyable as working with fresh sweet smelling wood and cutting, shaping and finishing off the part in the great open outdoors. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Go tell your bees- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Don't forget to give your bees a little Christmas gift to show your thanks for all their hard work in keeping the eco system working and providing the worlds most natural food.

It has been our family tradition since 1924 to go out to each beehive and give them back a full frame of honey with a tiny bit of holly. We quickly open each hive and remove an empty brood frame and replace it with a full frame of honey. It's our way to let our bees know we appreciate their hard work and how grateful we are to them.

So don't forget your bees!

Merry Christmas from all of us here at The Hive Honey Shop-London

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bees find our Shop Nature Habitat

If you have bought one of our many Insect Habitats and wondered if they really do attract insects- the answer is YES1 They need a bit of time to wear in, mellow, and for the insects to find them. The photos below show one of out Solitary Bee habitats now in full swing. It took a year before the tiny little stingless bees found it and took up residents.

The first thing they do is lay a single egg in a single chamber. Then the bee packs it with pollen for their larva to feed on. Finally they pack the rest of the chamber with moss, twigs and fine leaf cuttings to seal the chamber. The egg is now safe in the sealed chamber and when the time is right (about one month later) out pops a fully developed bee. Solitary Bees or Leaf Cutter Bees do not make honey in abundance like Apis Mellifera (hive) honey bees, but are very important helpers in pollenating plants.

Once your habitat gets going it's a wonderful sight to see this busy little buzzing hive! Safe for pets and children as these little bees can't sting. We also have:

* Ladybird habitats
* Butterfly habitats
* Bumblebee habitats
* Smaller Solitary Bee habitats

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


You have to see this! Do not try this at home!!!!

Monday, 16 June 2014

My Bees are acting AGGRESSIVE?- Don’t worry it’s the JUNE GAP

I am being contacted by a number of concerned beekeepers that they are finding it hard to work with their bees. They tell me that their bees have become more aggressive, seem to swarm around a lot more, and after opening the beehive all their other hives near by seem to become active?

Don’t worry- it’s the JUNE GAP. What is the June Gap I hear you ask. Well it’s traditionally the time of year when the majority of plant sources suppling pollen and nectar in the UK dry up. Flowers that have been pollenated now stop producing their abundance of nectar. Your bees up to this time have been over feeding the queen so she will lay eggs, producing thousands of bees in preparation of gathering this never ending honey flow. Little do your bees know but shortly this will all dry up.

Many people say to me, ‘But hang on I see flowers everywhere, surely the bees have food”? Plants produce the nectar and pollen not as a goodwill gesture for insect, but to entice them to the plant in the hope of cross pollination. Once they have completed this task they have no further use for insects and in many cases stop producing their treats. So the flowers look great, but nothing for your poor bees any longer. Other flowers are self pollenating and either do not produce nectar, pollen or both. In any case, as a result, the nectar flow will be greatly reduced and impact on the mood and attitude of your bees. Once this happens your bees feel frustrated as their long hard journeys in search of food are coming up empty. Other insects are experiencing the same lack of food so this can promote ’robbing’.  Bees, wasps, hornets are desperate to find a food source so they rob hives and over protect their own.
How does this affect your beekeeping? Well before the June Gap your bees were happy to allow you into their home as this was a time of plenty. Now with so many mouths to feed and so little food coming in, it’s not surprising that they might resent your weekly inspection and display a tad more mistrust. Once a beehive is opened the smell of the honey, as you lift a frame out to inspect it, wafts into the air and other bees are attracted. Your own bees become excited too and this creates a hysterical event. A new comer to beekeeping might confuse all these signs as a long term change in their beehives attitude and decide to requeen in an attempt to change the overall mood of their beehive. 

Another wrong conclusion that a new comer might make is during this time is not seeing eggs and what this could mean. During your inspection no eggs are seen and a gap in the brood development would suggest your beehive is queenless. However it could be that your bees have now realised that there is a nectar gap, no food coming in, so in order to regulate the population of the colony they have stopped feeding the queen. The queen in turn will reduce egg production and worker bees will remove eggs from the hive. They know that with little food coming in it makes perfect sense not to have new mouths to feed. So before buying a new queen have a slow, calm good look for your queen. She might just still be there.

Generally the June gap only lasts around two weeks and you will find in most cases your bees will be back to normal within that time. We do not remove honey during this time if we can help it as it excites the bees. We suggest buying extra honey supers so you can give them extra room while leaving the full honey supers on. We do this because if the June Gap goes on longer than expected, your bees have plenty of food during that time.

Any questions feel free to email us and we will do our best to post a reply. 
Happy Beekeeping.

The Hive Beekeepers

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Honeybee Flood & Starvation Alert

You will be aware that heavy rain throughout the UK has meant flooding in areas and riverbanks overflowing. The UK Bee Farmers Association have circulated a questionnaire to find out the extend of those members affected. It goes without saying that all bee apiaries that could be near a potential flood risk area should be moved now. It is generally known that moving bees in the winter is a bad idea. The disturbance make the bees active, alarmed and they will consume reserve food stores, much needed at this time of year. But in light of them drowning, move them to a safe area now.


The weather is spiking warm some days, cold on others. This means your bees will go out of their hives on warmer days in search of nectar and pollen. However there is not much nectar if any to collect, so they could use up all their remaining honey stores for the energy to go out and look for nectar. Keep a close watch on each hive for food levels and feed frames of honey if you have them, or a slab of fondant as an emergency feed. Bees can look healthy and happily flying in and out of the hive one day and dead the next. They all share the remaining food equally and therefore show no sign of anything wrong until it is too late.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

One- Day Introductory Beekeeping Session May 10th 2014. Book Now Online

Want to keep your own bees and bottle your own honey? Well this one day special beekeeping session is just for you! Now in its 20th year, with many ex-students having gone on to write books about bees, head beekeeping associations around the country and abroad, after taking our course.

PREFECT GIFT IDEA! Gift Vouchers Available

The course will take place one Saturday in May 2014. This unique course provides a real hands on beekeeping experience. We are now taking bookings for the 2014 courses. 

Our one day course guides you through the practical side of beekeeping as well as the theory behind the art. Our Master Beekeeper will discuss how to keep bees in a city back garden or the open countryside. This course is a summary that will allow you to decide if you wish to learn more and take your interest forward. 

Our fun easy to follow session covers areas like:
History Of Beehives
Beehives & Beekeeping Equipment- What's Needed
Anatomy Of The Bee, What Goes On Inside A Beehive
How to Open And Manage a Beehive
Seasonal Guide From Spring To Autumn
Keeping Healthy Bees And Happy Bees

Under expert supervision you will get to handle our super gentle happy bees and look inside a live beehive. We provide you with all the protective clothes and gloves so you can relax and enjoy our bees without worry. You also receive nice refreshments and lunch! 

The course is on Saturday May 10th from 10:30 - 3:30pm at our lovely Bee Heaven Farm Teaching Apiary.
LIMITED 15 per course