Category Archives: Equipment

The Sun Hive & How to Make One

When left to their own devices and given a hollow tree, honey bees create a colony that is round in cross section and oval in long view – egg shaped in other words. But our hives are all square.

Are we trying to force a round peg into a square hole?

A straw sun hive, allows honey bees to be themselves and build a warmer egg-shaped home. Here’s how to make one.

Continue reading The Sun Hive & How to Make One

Skep Making Course 2019

Skep making course with Jane Sellers at Ashford Heritage Centre, Saturday 16th March 2019 from 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Price – around €80 depending on numbers. This includes full instruction and sufficient materials (long stemmed wheat straw and rattan binding) to complete a standard size swarm skep 11”x13″.

Tools will be provided but bring scissors, and a bodkin if you have one.

Four Bee Skeps, small domed grass, small domed oaten straw, two swarm skeps
Tea and Coffee will be available but please bring your own packed lunch.
Please note – skep-making is time consuming. During the course of the day you will learn how to make a skep. You might not complete it, but you will leave with the know-how and materials to finish it at home.
Please also note – there are maximum of 10 places available so if you are interested please email to book your place.
Swarm skep made from flowering stems of purple moor grass
Swarm skep made from flowering stems of purple moor grass

Christmas – Bees and Wintering

Christmas is one of the four quarter days which mark the changing of the seasons.

The four quarter days are:

  • Lady day or the Feast of the Annunciation 25th March;
  • Midsummer’s day around 25th June;
  • Michaelmas 29th September;
  • Christmas 25th December – lest we forget. Fat chance.

They all approximately coincide with either an equinox or a solstice.

Continue reading Christmas – Bees and Wintering

Isle of Man Horse Power

If, like me, you went to the recent BIBBA conference on the Isle of Man you must also have noticed the horse drawn trams but did you know they too are threatened with extinction?

Kewin brings in the No.65 Douglas Horse Tram
Magnificent Kewin brings in the No.65 Douglas Horse Tram (

Manx Horse Power

Personally I was charmed and delighted by these lovely Clydesdales trotting along the promenade on hairy great feet with their ears all pricked and eager. In fact I was so charmed and delighted by them I looked them up on the Blithering Internet when I got home and was incredulous to discover that the Powers-That-Be in Douglas are planning to scrap them!

Click the photo above for a close up, look at that lovely, lovely horse and ask yourself how on earth can that be? Continue reading Isle of Man Horse Power

Useful Arnia Hive Scale Data

At this time of the year (spring) remote hive monitoring really comes into its own. I have an Arnia Hive Scale at one of my apiaries and it gives me a good idea what is happening not only in the monitored hive but also a rough idea of what is happening over there.

Since I installed it 2 months ago, apart from a sudden vertical jump when I put a super on to accommodate the growing population, it had been recording a steady decrease in weight but for the last 3 days it began to register an increase!

Here, have a look at this… Continue reading Useful Arnia Hive Scale Data