Flow Hive Thoughts…

Flow Hive. source: images.indigogo.com

Flow Hive. source: images.indigogo.com

At first glance it seems exciting, new, revolutionary. It appears to have arisen out of caring for bees. The no-hive-opening honey collection system. But as one considers the Flow Hive in a little more depth various issues arise. I’m not saying the inventors of the Flow Hive don’t care about bees, but rather they are coming from a beekeeper-centred way of thinking. And I’m not saying that humans should never collect honey, but collecting small amounts from hives in more extensive or backyard systems,  a bee-centred approach, is more likely to create a future where honeybees and humans can co-exist successfully.

Industrialisation of beekeeping and agriculture has placed many stressors on bees and they are becoming less resilient as a result. Management techniques associated with intensive beekeeping including regular manipulation and chemical use, alongside habitat loss, disease and pesticide use are contributing factors in recent losses of honeybees. Honeybees are among many pollinating insects (such as bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths) important to a wide range of plants, including many of the fruit and vegetables we eat. That same pollination service is also important within a wider ecological framework. We need to find ways to bolster their resilience, not break it down. I don’t think the Flow Hive is naturally compatible with this.

Honey is not only delicious and healthier for us than cane or beet sugar, it is primarily a food source for honeybees. They collect nectar and alter it to make honey, the ideal storage substance containing accessible energy with antimicrobial properties. It’s not something we can make. It cannot be replaced adequately by sugar syrup. Some colonies make enough for themselves, some colonies make surplus and some colonies would starve if we didn’t supplement them with sugar syrup or honey occasionally. I firmly believe that for a ‘sustainable’ future we should only take excess honey. Judging this is not an exact science, it means assessing the bees, the weather, season, available forage etc, etc. It means observing the bees, listening to the bees, interacting with the bees and making an informed, deliberate decision to open the hive and remove some honeycomb. It becomes about the bees.

natural comb

natural comb on a Top Bar (from a managed hive)

Conversely the Flow Hive is all about honey collection. Even the strapline ‘It’s the beekeepers dream…’ assumes a non-engaged way of harvesting honey is preferable. The hive uses frames with plastic comb, finished by the bees with wax, that can be cranked apart to release the honey stored in cells within. This honey then flows through tubes to external jars. The beekeeper doesn’t even have to open the hive – ‘that’s great!’ one might say, ‘the bees are undisturbed and I won’t get stung’, but how easy would it be to accidentally take too much, or to forget to consider all those other factors regarding the bees honey requirements which contribute to the survival of the colony? With extensive systems or natural comb hives one or two combs are harvested when surplus is evident. It is much harder to take too much.

It is also worth considering the honeybee colony as a super-organism  – think akin to a mammal in the way it functions with many bees making up a whole body that is more than the sum of it’s parts. In brief this comparison comes down to reproductive rate, self-produced nourishment for young, an internally regulated uterus, internal temperature regulation and capacity for learning/cognitive ability (ref: Tautz. The Buzz about Bees). How the super-organism is managed is an issue that goes beyond the Flow Hive. But I say again, bees are more resilient in an extensive system than they are in an intensive system.

If the colony is viewed as a super-organism the hive is as skin and comb as skeleton, energy store, memory bank (wax sterols and esters are part of their communication system) and womb. There is a respiration system of airflow governed by space and comb formation, and an immune system of anti-microbial substances and guard bees.

horizontal Top Bar Hive

horizontal Top Bar Hive

The Flow Hive uses plastic comb. This intereferes with natural bee behaviours – bees make wax in response to nectar flow, even when they are provided with plastic or pre-made wax sheets (a misguided attempt to direct bee energy away from wax production and towards honey production). Left to themselves honeybees create combs consisting of cells of varying sizes according to purpose (food, worker bee brood or drone brood) and season that curve and join and have entrance ways, dead ends and inaccessible-to-the-beekeeper areas. This complexity is important for maintenance of temperature, humidity and possibly of an anti-microbial atmosphere. The wax is also maintained at the optimum temperature for communication via vibration across the comb, it has been shown that plastic comb intereferes with this. Plastic comb may not appear detrimental, after all many bees live with it, but that doesn’t make it optimal either. And why use a man-made product when the bees can do it for themselves? I wonder if the makers of the Flow Hive plan on using recycled plastic?

It seems to me we should interact with the colony when we harvest some honey, be aware of prevailing conditions and risk getting stung. Acknowledge the needs of the colony as a super-organism and it’s place within the larger organism of our planet.

(Elinor)

 

Topping Top Bar Afternoon

The sun shone and the bees were busy. Always good news when one wants to look at a colony of bees. I have a horizontal Top Bar Hive (hTBH) in my garden which has had bees in it for two years now, last week they swarmed and gathered handily on my trampoline so now there is a Top Bar nuc box as well. They will be transferred into a hive when the weather improves.

Top Bar hives are a relatively recent introduction to the UK so it was a chance for  interested people to come along and see one in action as well as play around with an empty one. As with any social gathering cake was present, every one of which had bee-pollinated ingredients; chocolate, oranges, lemons, almonds, cherries and of course, coffee.

Bee chat :)

Cakes, all with bee-pollinated ingredients

It’s easier to adopt more ‘natural beekeeping’ or apicentric beekeeping methods with a Top Bar Hive, but Bungay Community Bees  also has conventional National hives and a soon to be tried out modified National (to make use of our spare National equipment without using printed foundation wax sheets – but more of that in a later post). Two of the biggest advantages to a Top Bar Hive are that the bees build their own comb and that when you inspect by opening the hive up only a small section is revealed at a time, thus retaining nest scent and warmth as much as possible.

Get closer!

 

Looking through the glass panel

 

Comb of stores

 

capped honey at the top, nectar in the centre. Fallen comb inside and on the left.

capped honey at the top, nectar in the centre. Fallen comb inside and on the left.

You can see inside and to the left a comb recently fell from the bar, the bees have  attached the upright portion to the follower board, which isn’t terribly helpful from a beekeepers perspective but I have left for now. The horizontal portion is being harvested and the wax used elsewhere. We only inspected a couple of bars this time as I didn’t want to disturb the colony too much, the new queen should be hatching soon.

We had a quick peek inside the nuc box  to see how they had settled in over the week. I had expected  all the syrup I gave them as back-up to have gone but it was only  half gone so they were obviously managing well even with two days confined to the hive due to weather. I had also expected to see maybe two or maybe three bars of comb but they had built on every bar (six in total) although the last was very small still. Happy Bees

Top Bar nuc one week on

 

New comb in Top Bar nuc

If you are interested in any of  our different hive types please get in contact and we can arrange for you to see them. We have hTBH’s as mentioned and are also getting to grips with some Warre (stacking Top Bar Hives) at the moment. They all overwintered well and have produced several swarms already.

We now have a facebook page on which our beekeepers post regular pictures and updates, just search for Bungay Community Bees and ‘like’ the page to receive them.

Calling All Bungay Community Bee members for 2014!

Bungay Community Bees is 5 years old!

 

With the advent of Spring we are getting ready for the beekeeping year ahead. Now is the perfect time to join, for this year in celebration of our fifth anniversary there is no membership fee. But we are still looking for members to join our BCB community.

We have had some changes to our ‘core’ group recently which means we are looking for people to take on some of the more active roles. There are several ways in which BCB can take the project strands (Plants for Bees, Education and Outreach, Beekeeping, Hive Building) forwards, it just needs a little enthusiasm and time from the community. So please don’t be shy!

The group has changed somewhat over the years. From the Community Supported Agriculture model we began with we have developed a more educational bent. This has occurred partly in response to our own growing awareness of the wider issues impacting upon bee survival and partly due to forging links with others and the opportunities that have since arisen.

We do have several colonies of bees this spring as they all survived the winter, and hope to collect some honey in a couple of months.

Our major project of 2013 was the educational school visits in association with Anglia Regional Co-operative Society and Featherdown Farms. These visits will begin again in a few weeks. There is a blog on the SB website outlining what we did along with some pictures and a number to contact for bookings, including for this year.

The other major project we would like to run this year is Bungay Beehive Day. After an initial brainstorming session we have come up with some great ideas, but need some bodies to take on some of the organising. We can make it as comprehensive as volunteers allow.

So, if you would like to get involved in any of the following ways please get in touch:

* Become a member for the year (no fee this year!), the membership form is on the BCB page of the website. Please email bees@sustainablebungay.com with any queries or contact me on 07791 495 012

* Get involved with Bungay Beehive Day 2014 (5th anniversary!), i.e. helping with stalls, speakers, plants, publicity

*Assisting with school visits at College Farm (Thursday mornings beginning late May, expenses paid)

* Workshops with schools, possibly to create some large artworks to display at Beehive Day

* Become secretary for BCB, arranging meetings and co-ordinating the group socially

* Train to become a BCB beekeeper, either with Waveney Valley Beekeepers (conventional hives, lots of bee experience and support; mostly evenings) or with the Natural Beekeeping Trust (top bar hives with minimal intervention; 2 days Sussex). This will be funded by BCB on the understanding you subsequently keep bees for the group. First come, first booked basis.

* Take any of the project strands forwards

* Share your fabulous ideas!

 

Finally, we now have a facebook page, search for bungaycommunitybees and ‘like’ us to see photo’s and get notifications of blog posts and events.

I also have a personal twitter account @ElinorBees, which is bee oriented, as is Mike Southerns @JoinerBee, he is one of our beekeepers and our hive designer.

All the best

Elinor McDowall

College Farm Education Apiary

Our big project last year was the initiation of educational visits for schools in conjunction with Anglia Regional Co-operative Society and Featherdown Farms. A purpose built apiary was created at College Farm, Aldeby, a fantastic spot leading down to the broads. It’s primarily aimed at local schools but can be used for other groups as well. To date we have hosted 7 primary schools, the Anglia Regional Co-operative store managers and members of Sustainable Bungay, who cycled out on car free day.

The apiary itself consists of an observation shed overlooking several different types of hives and, at it’s heart, a hand-crafted glass hive actually sited within the shed. Because it’s indoors the children can see the bees up close and personal in any weather. One of their favourites seems to be the glass tubes connecting the body of the hive to the entrance. It’s really easy to see the bees carrying in pollen and even fighting wasps off.

Bees in entrance tube

 

Observation hive nearly ready for bees

 

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Desperately hoping our lovingly crafted glass observation hive would work well with bees living in it we started a colony off in there only to have it collapse. We tried again with a new queen and all seemed well until we realised she also wasn’t laying. So then I put a frame of eggs in and they picked up a little, so Mike put another frame in and they picked up some more. Unfortunately the colony didn’t really thrive until after the school visits had finished, however, it didn’t appear to diminish the children’s enjoyment.

We even had a Tree Bumblebee colony to show them. These are a recent migrant from Europe and really pretty. It was great to demonstrate the differences between honey bee combs and papery bumblebee nests amongst the soil.

Our aim is to inspire the children, to engender a sense of wonder and importance of the world about them. It’s important for us to place the honey-bee in an ecological context for them, so the other half of the visit which is a nature spotters ramble fits in beautifully. Before we unveil the bees themselves we talk about pollinators and why pollination is important for us. Then we challenge the children to guess which foods are mostly reliant on bee pollination.

How well would you do?

Here are a few to try, most (but not all) are bee dependent: lemon, kiwi, rice, apples, pears, strawberries, walnuts, rapeseed oil, cucumber, oats, chocolate, coffee…

I was really pleased with how much the children already knew about honeybees, it made it so much more fun to spot workers versus drones, honey cells versus brood cells and even the queen!

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As a group we tend towards a more apicentric or bee-centred way of keeping bees, with minimal intervention and we explore the reasons why with the children. Thinking about how important hive scent and warmth is for their well-being, how they communicate via scent, touch and vibration and how disruptive to the colony frequent opening is. We certainly don’t advocate ‘leave alone’ beekeeping, but there are ways to monitor bee health without opening the hive every week. Admittedly, it helps having glass panels on most of the hives…

Although we address current threats to bees with the children we also want them to go away with a positive message regarding easy ways to be bee-friendly. After all, a little less weeding is as easy as planting some herbs, or leaving clover patches in the lawn or piles of sticks (habitat piles) under the hedge.

Each child and school leaves with some bee-friendly seeds provided by Anglia Regional Co-operative society.

If you are interested in bringing a school to visit please contact Jill Basson of Anglia Regional Co-operative Society on 01733 225552.

Our journey to achieve all this in 2013:

February 2013 saw us marking out the spot we wanted for the shed in the cold, cold, cold weather. We chose a spot with easy access, not far from the broad and sheltered yet with sun to warm them up in the morning.

Paving and shed in place

 

With hTBH and National outside

During March 2013 we were waiting, fingers crossed, hoping our nucleus of bees would be ready in time for the first school visits at College Farm. They were, but only just. The cold beginning to 2013 followed by wet and windy weather meant the bees were late in getting started. More disastrously it appears several virgin queens weren’t able to successfully complete mating flights, including ours.

Going into the 2014 season we have three different types of hives (with bees) as well as the observation colony, a plan to plant bee-friendly (mostly cottage garden) flowers and various ideas on how to supplement the learning experience for the children. I’m looking forward to seeing the newly built hide / butterfly shed in action as well.

Building out onto comb board

 

And finally: some pictures of the Anglia Regional Co-operative Store Managers enjoying the same tour…

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Come and see the Bees!

Once again Bungay Community Bees’ colonies have survived rather a strange weather year. Long spells of dry weather following the late, sudden burst of flower energy has led to low honey stores in good sized colonies. We are currently needing to feed them up with sugar syrup to facilitate their winter hoarding. We now have three community hives in and around Bungay and another three at the College Farm Observation Apiary (one indoors made of glass).

This was our first year at College Farm, offering ‘bee and nature ramble’ visits to schools, in conjunction with Anglia Regional Co-operative Society. Children discovered how amazing honey bees are, the importance of pollination and risks to pollinators followed by seeing honeybees in the glass hive. Some also saw a nest of very pretty Tree Bumblebees, recently arrived in East Anglia from Europe. We catered to different ages and abilities but everyone enjoyed themselves (especially us) and we have had some great feedback. I was struck by the enthusiasm (and sometimes tricky questions) generated. Best of all, after settling in over the winter, everything at the apiary should be even better next year! The next challenge for us will be delivering the same experience to the co-operative managers later in a few weeks.

There is a visit to College Farm Apiary (some pictures here) planned for 22nd September at 2:30.  If you would like to join us please contact Elinor: 07791 495 012 or by email bees@sustainablebungay.com. Alternatively you could join the group cycling to Aldeby from Bungay as part of Car Free Day – they’ll be leaving the Buttercross at 1:30pm (more about Car Free Day events here)

Installing bees into the observation hive

The latest additions to the apiary includes 2 clear tubes between the entrance holes and the hive. Hopefully we shall be able to see the bees with pollen on their legs returning to the nest. Mike added some ‘porches’ on the outside as well to ensure water doesn’t get driven in.

Showing 2 entrance holes with weather guards (on the left)

Showing 2 entrance holes with weather guards (on the left)

This was also the first use of the top bar nuc boxes and it all worked beautifully.

Our bees arriving at the apiary

Our bees arriving at the apiary

It was then a case of transferring the bars into the observation hive and popping the open nuc box in the bottom to allow the remaining bees to find their way out. All very gentle. And we even saw the Queen.

transferring frames into the hive.

transferring frames into the hive.

The nuc box was left in to allow the bees to leave it in their own time

The nuc box was left in to allow the bees to leave it in their own time

Comb in place with the most heavily populated one to the rear

Comb in place with the most heavily populated one to the rear

Mikes Most Marvellous Observation Hive

I spent a great three hours earlier with Mike and his family as he got the majority of the observation hive installed. If I’m brutally honest I wasn’t particularly useful, but I did get to swan around taking pictures and getting a feel for the space.

The viewing shed itself is light and roomy, with plenty of window space overlooking the paved area where the outdoor top bar hives will be situated.  Beyond these we are planning to plant bee-friendly flowers, both as a treat for the bees and as an example of a buzzing border.

We expect the bees for our new apiary to arrive in just over a week, with the first school visit on the 23rd May. I’m currently in the process of finding some posters for the walls and reviewing fun learning activities. To that end just being at the apiary site was inspiring.

Viewing shed from the back

Looking through the viewing shed

Looking out over area for outdoor hives and bee-friendly flowers

Looking out over outdoor hive and bee friendly flower area

Putting the glass in

The hive has glass sides (with cover panels)

More glass...

Bees are accessed from outside but glass means interactions can be viewed from inside

The core nuc box for top bars and the comb board

Integral top bar nuc and board for building comb on

Getting in place with nuc and comb board in situ

Board for building comb on, top bar nuc and mesh floor in place

Showing outside access to observation hive

Outdoor access to the hive

With covers in place

Back covers in place

The main body installed

Observation hive body in situ

Mike has been very busy designing and building this observation hive. He will post a more in-depth account of his exploits and reasoning processes in the future, so if you’re interested in the more technical aspects watch this space….

Top bar hives: Mike's creative adventures #2

The BCB Top Bar Hive design receives some modifications!

Building the first 2 BCB horizontal Top Bar Hives was a real journey of discovery which I thoroughly enjoyed, since finishing those hives I have made refinements to the original design. This process of evolution partly came about during the initial construction, but was also stimulated by seeing the hives in use and talking to other bee keepers.

#1

inspecting #1: heavy lid open

The areas I wanted to improve upon were: the roof, roof covering, feeder and the access at the base of the hive.

The roof had ended up being very heavy and needed hinging to the hive body to make it easily opened by one person, this worked well but took extra time in the building process to fit the hinges and stays, it also meant that the whole hive needed 2 people to move it even when empty. If the roof were lighter and could be completely removed then the hive could be broken down into its component parts for transporting.

observation panel

cork insulation

 

As well as making the sections of timber used to construct the roof lighter I also introduced a curve to increase the strength even though the timber thickness had been reduced to 8mm. The inside of the roof has a 1” thick ceiling of cork to provide effective insulation. These changes worked well and the roof can now easily be removed by one person.

 

On the Mk1 design we had opted to use galvanised steel covering for the roof as is commonly done with National hives. In the Mk2 I wanted to make the covering lighter and to give it a more natural appearance. This was achieved by fixing a canvas covering coated in varnish to make it weather tight and durable – a technique that had been widely used on the decks of boats.

#2 with feeder and follower boards in place

#1

 

I made 2 ‘frame feeders’ for the Mark1 hives, the bees in one of the hives disappeared over the space of a few hours leaving no brood behind, when we investigated and cleaned out the hive we found that the feeder was partly filled with dead bees all soaked with sugar solution feed.

inside first feeder

completed #1 feeder

 

We are still unsure what happened but wanted to remove the risk of it re-occurring. The most practical solution was to use a readily available plastic entrance feeder mounted through a follower board.

'entrance' feeder in place

side view of 'entrance feeder'

 

We introduced this modification to all the hives and they have been working very well through 2012.

A Varroa mesh floor is commonly used as part of the integrated management and monitoring of the now endemic Varroa mite this has been an essential part of our design from the beginning. In the Mk1 a ‘letter box’ slot opening was cut into the bottom of the hive through which the monitoring board could be removed, this was fine but didn’t allow for running the hive with an open mesh floor to increase ventilation.#1 solid floor under mesh

 

#2 with removable bottom board

The Mk2 has a removable base that can be used as a monitoring board for mite drop count but can also be partially or completely removed. The base is held in place with oak wedges and can be left on the supports to allow partial ventilation.

I built 3 of the Mk2 hives 2 for BCB to run and one to run myself, I am very pleased that 4 out of the 5 TBH’s that I have built to date are currently occupied by healthy colonies.

 

What next?

 

This year there are several new projects in the pipe line – I have been researching and developing the design for 2 versions of a Catenary Top Bar Hive (with a curved body replicating the shape of comb in a wild colony). I hope to have 2 of these to try out this year. Recently I have been working with Elinor on the design of an indoor natural observation TBH for an education project that BCB are going to be involved in setting up this year…..more of that later.

By Mike Southern: Bungay Community Bees

Bungay Community Bees 2011

 

Bungay Comunity Bees (BCB) has captured the imaginations of many this year. Several other Community Beekeeping groups have begun and we have become known to inspiring organisations such as The Natural Beekeeping Trust, Friends of the Bees (Phil Chandler ‘The Barefoot Beekeeper’), Bees for Development, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife, whilst continuing to strengthen our links with the Soil Association and Sustain. The way in which we straddle the worlds of Beekeeping and Community Transition sets us apart from many other Beekeeping groups and is a major strength.

We grew rapidly in numbers and ideas this year. Building upon our burgeoning awareness of the greater picture concerning bees and the many challenges they face, we have formed four project strands:

Beekeeping; bees in hives and training others to become beekeepers/guardians

Education and Outreach; hosting Bungay Beehive Day, talking to interest groups, schools and others

Hives; making top bar hives and exploring different designs with sustainability in mind

Plants for Bees; looking at ways to preserve and promote bee-friendly spaces and gardens

Our website http://www.sustainablebungay.com/bungay-community-bees-2/ is continually changing to reflect the needs of our group. In addition to a complete library of BCB posts we have sub-category archives specific to each strand. There is an electronic membership form and several links to interesting organisations and websites. We are currently working on some resource pages. If you have any ideas you would like to see implemented please contact us via the form on the BCB page, bees@sustainablebungay.com or 01986 948154.

 

Beekeeping

 

 

Co-ordinated by Elinor McDowall

2011: We have had a mixed year in terms of colonies in hives. Unfortunately we lost a few colonies for a variety of reasons including cold temperatures, varroa, injured queens and the unexplained evacuation of a hive. However, we do have an extremely strong colony as the winter turns and I hope to build our numbers up this year. Especially as we now have honey extracting equipment and jars!

Our first horizontal Top Bar Hive (hTBH) saw service as home to a swarm and they built some beautiful comb in it. That is, after we removed a very large and majestic (native) hornet and her delicate paper nest…

The Natural Beekeeping Conference gave Eloise and I plenty of food for thought about beekeeping principles and methods, we have shared some of these in a post on the website.

Plans for 2012: We currently have two beekeepers, with four apiary sites and more offered should we need them. Another two members will be trained with Waveney Beekeepers Group and we would like to have between four and eight hives by the end of the summer.

It would be good to build our colonies up early to allow us to access any excess honey stores!

 

 

Plants for Bees

 

 

Co-ordinated by Rose Titchener.

2011: We have entered into the ‘River of Flowers’ world by sowing a wildflower meadow with Keith and Jeannie Parker at the Flixton apiary site. We will develop this in the future.

Our pilot project with the Three Willows Garden Centre in Bungay has taken off. Although not quite finished, there is a display stand highlighting bees and bee-friendly plants backed up by BCB ‘bee-friendly’ stickers indicating appropriate plants.

Some of us attended the Linking Landscapes event hosted by the Suffolk Naturalists, which was full of great ideas from some great organisations – encouraging us to think big yet again.

Plans for 2012: We are in the process of designing a poster and leaflet to encourage bee-friendly practices.

We will continue communicating with growers, retailers and gardeners. There are several farmers we know of who are using some really interesting techniques in both organic and conventional agriculture that we would like to know more about.

The wildflower meadow and pond will be further developed and we will begin monitoring species of plants and bees/insects at our Flixton apiary.

Once again there will be ‘walks’ led by plant and bee enthusiasts, a chance to learn more about, but more importantly to step back and appreciate what is. From there one can think about how to optimise the spaces around each of us.

 

 

Education and Outreach

 

 

Co-ordinated by Gemma Parker.

2011: Those that joined us at the end of July already know what a success Bungay Beehive Day was. Held in a marquee on Castle Meadow we had various displays about plants, honeybees, bumblebees and hives. The observation hive (thanks to Bob and Sally Spruce of WBG) was fascinating, as were the slides and activities provided by the Iceni Microscopy Group. Other contributors came from the Natural Beekeeping Trust, the River of Flowers project and our own BCB (plants, healing honey, bumblebees) with a hugely popular ‘bees and flowers’ walk.

We also spent a very busy week with Bungay Primary School (read the blog post) and spoke to several local interest groups.

Plans for 2012: Look out for Bungay Beehive 2012 on July 15th! We shall shortly be asking if anyone wishes to participate, and if so, in what capacity. Let us know if you would like to be involved in any way.

We have bookings to speak to several groups throughout the year, including to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust on March 19th (see diary dates).

 

 

Hives

 

 

Co-ordinated by Mike Southern.

2011: Mike built two hTBH’s for us which we hope to get back into service this year. He is currently in the process of building another two. Ever curious he has been researching other hive types using natural comb as well.

Plans for 2012:
Mike did a wonderful job of organising an (incredibly popular) hTBH building course which has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to our partner organisation being unable to continue. We are currently looking at alternative options. In the meantime Mike is considering a step by step instructional guide to complement his existing blog and photographs.

 

Creating

 

 

We have recently had a couple of fun meetings when we used our honey to make honey buns (recipe here) and our wax to make a yarrow salve (blog post here).

 

 

Publicity, conferences and networking

 

 

Wow! This year we seem to have got everywhere in one way or another; we have presented at a Soil Association Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) conference, been interviewed alongside UEA Beekeepers and Gods Acre Beekeepers for the British Beekeepers Association News (not yet published), had a double page spread in the EADT, several appearances in the Bungay and Beccles Journal and an interview on Radio Suffolk. We have also appeared in ‘A Growing Trade’ by Sustain (downloadable here) and in the new Transition book ‘The Transition Companion’ in addition to getting mentioned in Transition News and on the Transition Show (Radio Stroud) – thanks Mark!

And then there are the many other ‘talks’ our members have given to various groups and friends, I’m sure at the very least most of you will have mentioned us to someone else… I know somebody even mentioned BCB whilst chatting at the worldwide gathering of beekeepers (Apimondia 2011) in Argentina (and the best bit is they had already heard of us!).

Several of us have attended various other conferences (self funded), including The Natural Beekeeping Conference, Linking Landscapes Conference and Transition Camp.

 

 

Dates for your Diary 2012:

 

BCB Meetings:

 

February 12th 14.30, Old Rectory, Flixton – Making Bug Hotels with Eloise

April 15th 14.30, Old Rectory, Flixton – Planting & Sowing with Rose

June 10th (time yet to be arranged) – Walk/Talk at High Ash Farm, Caister with Chris Skinner

August 19th 14.30, Old Rectory, Flixton – Identifying plants and bees, survey our apiary site

October 14th 14.30, Old Rectory, Flixton – Natural Beekeeping Conference Review with Elinor

December 9th 14.30, Earsham or Flixton – Making & Creating for Christmas

Plants for Bees and the other strands are likely to be holding various extra events/meetings/work days

 

 

Other Stuff:

 

Queen of the sun’ is a new, highly recommended film about bees, to be held at the Waveney Beekeepers headquarters in Barsham, date yet to be confirmed.

 

March 12th – BCB talking to Suffolk Wildlife Trust, 19.30 Bungay Community Centre

July 15th – Bungay Beehive Day

July 29th – stall at Weston Country Fair, 10.30 – 6.00, volunteers VERY welcome!

August 10th-12th – Natural Beekeeping Conference, West Sussex

 

 

 

Big Thank-you’s !!

 

So many people have enabled BCB to step beyond the original plan this year, here are some of them:

 

*Adnams Charity: funded our honey extractor and jars

*Beechwood Bees: once again they donated beekeeping equipment, bees and advice

*Bungay Rainbow Store: gave fun day proceeds to fund Hives and Plants for Bees

*Every single member: nothing could happen without you!

*Volunteers: your hearts and souls (and time) are very much appreciated

*Waveney Beekeepers Group: always kind, supportive, informative and interested in our efforts… As members of BCB you are welcome to their meetings, a diary can be found on their website.

 

Remember, BCB benefits in many ways from being a community group. Not least from the varying interests and skills of our members. If you have any ideas you think the group could take on please let the rest of us know!

 

bees@sustainablebungay.com

www.sustainablebungay.com/bungay-community-bees-2/

01986 948154

 

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