In the beautiful opening passage of his epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, HW Longfellow has his subject waiting, watching from the doorway of his wigwam:
All the air was full of freshness, All the earth was bright and joyous, And before him, through the sunshine, Westward toward the neighboring forest, Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo, Passed the bees, the honey-makers, Burning, singing in the sunshine.
I have been keeping bees since 2017. A few years prior to that I picked up a book on them at a friend’s house and was so fascinated I had no choice but to attend the winter lecture series and then get a few bees for myself. Since then it has got completely out of control with more than ten hives, and I’m not sure what I did with my time before bees.
“Pliny states that the custom of removing bees from place to place for fresh pasturage was frequent in the Roman territories, and such is still the practice of the Italians who live near the banks of the Po, (the river which Pliny particularly instances) mentioned by Alexander de Montford, who says that the Italians treat their bees in nearly the same manner as the Egyptians did and still do; that they load boats with hives and convey them to the neighbourhood of the mountains of Piedmont; that in proportion as the bees gather their harvest, the boats, by growing heavier, sink deeper into the water; and that the watermen determine from this when their hives are loaded sufficiently and it is time to carry them back to their places from which they came. The same author relates that the people of the country of Juliers used the same practice; for that, at a certain season of the year, they carried their bees to the foot of the mountains that were covered with wild thyme.”
[Main image: Miniature by Andrea da Firenze, from an edition of Natural History by Pliny the Elder, c.1457–58 – British Library]
Members will remember that last year’s Convention was held in the summer on one of the hottest days of the year, and in the middle of the swarming period, so it was decided to move the event until later in the year.
The Turriff show was its usual eclectic mixture of opportunity to view and buy everything from Orthotic Insoles through to that monster tractor you have always wanted. The new ADBKA double gazebo got its first public outing between the National Fostering Agency and a stand selling clothes for dogs! This year we decided to be located outside amongst the trade stands rather than in the Industrial Tent; the move, and the gazebo, were thought to be successes with a steady stream of visitors throughout the show. We were certainly doing better business than the ‘grand-daughter of Gipsy Rose Lee’ in her caravan opposite! Continue reading “Turriff Show 2018”→
After last month’s report on the Queen Rearing course [see the June 2018 Newsletter, page 3], I seem to be at risk of becoming ADBKA’s special correspondent on queen rearing. Of course, like many journalists, I can write about a subject but am so far much less adept at actually doing it!
Well over 20 ADBKA members enjoyed glorious weather as we visited one of Murray McGregor’s queen rearing apiaries at his home near Coupar Angus. Murray owns and runs Scotland’s largest commercial beekeeping operation – Denrosa – and has an extensive queen rearing programme to support his 3,000 production hives.
Twenty years ago, if anyone had said I’d become a beekeeper I would have thought they didn’t know me very well. It would never have crossed my mind or compared with my other interests. Then one day my daughter came home from junior school with a children’s book about honeybees. That caught my wife’s attention and she found out about, and started to attend, the ADBKA introductory course. However, she wasn’t so keen on diseases and pests so I said I would attend that week so that we at least had the knowledge in the house. I ended up completing the course (and in fact did it all again the following year), but although I was interested I still wasn’t entirely sure
beekeeping was for me. Continue reading “Ian Mackley”→
‘The first bit is the hard part’, instructor Bryce Reynard announced as six ADBKA members gathered for a workshop in the noble art of skep-making. The tables were covered in straw. Bales of string and alarmingly large needles were ready for use. Bryce had kindly brought along a collection of his work, and after he had introduced himself and his background in forestry and his own introduction to basket-making via a birthday present, the workshop started with a discussion of skep-making around the various part- and fully-finished examples. The wide variety of possible materials, from straw to brambles, nettles, various grasses and so on, was of interest to everyone. Continue reading “Skep-making workshop – November, 2017”→
[This is the first of a series of articles based on interviews by Lindsey Macaulay and Olya Kurasova with Murray McGregor.]
My season starts in September when all my colonies are at the heather moors of Scotland waiting for us to harvest the honey crop.
The first thing we do is remove the bees from the honey crop within the hive. We do this by using a New Zealand type clearing board which normally clears all the bees in a matter of hours and, in my opinion, offers several advantages over the alternatives. See Note 1.
This year’s honey show was very well attended and most categories were represented with an entry. The show was judged by Hugh Donohoe who has been a member of ADBKA for many years, a former committee member and, more recently, has been appointed an SBA examiner.