Author Archives: Peter Halford

'Don't kill flies, wasps or bees this summer' warning

30-May-22 – Essex Live

Could the land of milk and honey save the world's bees?

26-May-22 – Jewish Chronicle

Bee charity wins silver medal at Chelsea Flower Show

26-May-22 – Abergavenny Chronicle

Guerlain marks World Bee Day with #WomenForBees fundraising campaign

23-May-22 – Moodie Davitt

American Foulbrood found in Perthshire bee hive

20-May-22 – Gov Scotland

Hive mind: Tunisia beekeepers abuzz over early warning system

20-May-22 – France24

World Bee Day: A British beekeeper’s guide to protecting the essential insects

19-May-22 – Alloa Advertiser

Bees are at risk and we can all help to keep them safe

18-May-22 – The Times

In Scotland, The LACRIMA Foundation is Making 3D Printed Wooden Beehives

18-May-22 – 3D-Natives

Scientists’ astonishing discovery: some bats pretend to be bees and hornets to defend themselves from predators!

12-May=22 –

£2.4m components contract secured to help save the bees

04-May-22 – The Business Desk

Chef Clodagh McKenna reveals why she loves to keep bees

01-May-22 – Homes and Gardens

“Honey galore in sunny St Leonards” - by Malcolm Wilkie

Once again this season has been like no other. A very mild wet winter has meant that the bees have started building up really early and collecting a lot of nectar from spring flowers and trees : although we have had little rain so far the ground itself was moist and trees with their deep roots have been able to express nectar in great quantity.

The month of April was very kind from the point of view of the weather and so it is perhaps unsurprising that large colonies have wanted to swarm early. A few years ago the main swarming season was towards the end of May but this certainly hasn’t been the case this year for my bees.

My problem is that colonies on which I did swarm control by taking the Queen out on the nucleus have now built up to such an extent that they themselves also now need a super. Lesley and I now have 22 units between us, and those numbers seem to be mushrooming! As soon as the sun comes out Les’s garden hums so loudly that one thinks there must be a swarm somewhere. As our neighbour said when he looked over the fence the other day, the activity of your bees is rather like the M25 as there seems to be so much traffic.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I have run out of supers and a lot of the supers that I have on hives are so full of honey that the bees have nowhere to place the ingress of nectar. So I urgently need to do a honey extraction in order to create some space, because my concern is that new Queens will have nowhere to lay in the brood box and so that will trigger another round of swarming and of course that is what I want to avoid at all costs.

All of us as beekeepers need to keep an eagle eye on the weather. We have now just had a good dump of rain, and more is expected next week. The consequence of that, given the elevated temperatures, is that we will have the most humongous nectar flow and brood boxes will become honey bound if we are not careful. So if your bees are in condition, add supers and think about removing frames of stores from the brood box and replacing them with foundation. This will keep the bees busy and create space for a new queen to start her brood nest.

Below are some pictures of Lesley’s garden. The supers are so heavy that it is difficult to lift them off the hive. We don’t think there is rape in the vicinity this year. However in my out apiary that may not be the case and if I am unlucky when I can do an extraction (which is not until next week) the honey may have granulated to such an extent that I won’t even be able to get it out of the frames. Jo Groom avoided this problem last week because she realised that the honey was granulating before her eyes. That’s the difficulty with rape honey because it will set overnight if you’re not careful. So it needs to be put into jars at the same time as you are extracting if at all possible. Otherwise you’re going to have to use a warming cabinet. At least (because she is on the ball) she has extracted the ripe honey from her frames and they can now be used again. If I am unlucky and the honey in my out apiary has set rock-hard in the frames I will not be able to extract it and all that drawn wax will be wasted!

Lesley and I have never had a spring crop like this one before. Honey galore! As long as I can actually get it out of the frames!

  • Video - Nuc boxes in a row as part of swarm control. This is only a part of the garden!
  • Image-1 - Swarm control!
  • Image-2 - The top part of the garden.
  • Image-3 - The bottom part of the garden.

Despite the number of hives, the bees let us mow and strim in the garden without bothering us. Some of those bees are from last year’s calm queen project.

Rape honey can be a blessing or a curse.

  • Image-4 - Jo Groom’s extraction from yesterday. Definitely rape - it granulates before your eyes.
  • Image-5 - Jo’s honey granulating as she is bottling up. It will be set within 12 hours.

Malcolm Wilkie (training officer) – 20th May 2022

Is No Mow May a good idea?

29-Apr-22 – LivingEtc

UK braced for another invasion of killer Asian hornets after first insects of 2022 found

25-Apr-22 – EssexLive

Landworkers' Alliance seeks to ban export of UK-made pesticides

22-Apr-22 – FarmingUK

Bee diversity needed to sustain life on Earth

18-Apr-22 – Environment Journal

How to prevent insect bites and stings as the weather warms up

17-Apr-22 – The Courier (Scotland)

Researchers explore DWR inspired by bees

12-Apr-22 – Au Manufacturing

Pollination experts install listening devices at Dyson Farming site

11-Apr-22 – FarmingUK

EU to restrict use of harmful Sulfoxaflor pesticide for pollinators

07-Apr-22 - EU business

World’s First Bee-Free Honey Company MeliBio Secures $5.7M In Funding

07-Apr-22 – Plant based news

Recent cold weather could be detrimental to wildlife, say Woodland Trust: Here’s how you can help

08-Apr-22 – On-the-Wight (but it’s in the South too!!)

Cold weather could hit wildlife after mild start to year, conservationists warn

07-Apr-22 – Fife Times (I know it’s a bit north of here!!!)

Colombian researchers seek safety for bees in urban jungle

05-Apr-22 – France24

Want to attract bees? New study says to keep these 3 common weeds

04-Apr-22 – Country Living

Scottish fruit growers to use new AI system to boost yields

31-Mar-22 - FarmingUK News

What are bee bus stops and could the Channel Islands get some?

31-Mar-22 – ITV News

What are bee bus stops and could the Channel Islands get some?

31-Mar-22 – ITV News

Brighton makes bee line for mandatory swift bricks

21-Mar-22 – Scottish Construction Now

New wildlife seed mix promises to be best yet for biodiversity

18-Mar-22 – FarmingUK

Five foods on the decline due to climate change

California uses 60% of the honeybee hives in the country just for almond pollination each winter

16-Mar-22 – Speciality Food Magazine

Honey producer Rowse has launched a campaign telling customers that buying honey will protect bees

16-Mar-22 – Talking Retail

Why You Should Stay Away From Stinging Insects

16-Mar-22 – business mole

Beeswax Market to Witness Stunning Growth

14-Mar-22 – NyseNewsGuild

ZEMIC load sensors find novel use for critical health monitoring function on Apiago’s smart beehives

08-Mar-22 – Process and Control Today

Research demonstrates value ‘injurious weeds’ can bring to both pollinators and biodiversity

08-Mar-22 – BES

DEFRA lifts ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid

03-Mar-22 – The ENDS report

Growers allowed to use neonic after threshold for use met

02-Mar-22 – FarmingUK

Wildlife gardening – 12 expert tips for making your outdoor space more attractive to bees, birds, and animals

27-Feb-22 – Living etc

Beekeepers using tracking devices to protect precious hives

22-Feb-22 – AP News

Conservation charity asks Channel Islanders to grow more wild patches to stop bees declining

18-Feb-22 – ITV

Wildlife Trusts' lawyers question legality of emergency neonics use

14-Feb-22 – FarmingUK

York council chiefs agree to scale back use of controversial herbicide

09-Feb-22 – York Press

Plants are flowering a month earlier than usual

07-Feb-22 – Reaction Life

Scientists develop insect-sized flying robots with flapping wings

02-Feb-22 – Science Daily