Too Many Queens Can Spoil The Show…

| 9th June 2013
This post is all about the bees. Andy (Mr Hen Corner) asked me to name this post ‘Does anyone want a spare colony?’ but I am assuring him that all is well with our extra couple of hives…

This week we’ve been running courses, visiting schools and drinking cocktails with our friends at Abel and Cole.

Long Live The Queens!

The Bee-ziest Weeks

As we’ve started to see a bit more of the sun recently, our bees have been busy building up their colony and rearing new queens allowing them to reproduce and start a new ‘family’. Last month I split the colony and moved some frames of bees into the other half of the Beehaus hoping that they would be happy in their new home. After a week I checked on them to discover that they were trying to rear eight new queens! As each colony can only have one, this could result in each queen leaving the hive with a collection of bees to look for a new home. I removed all but three of the queen cells and hoped that one would emerge as a strong leader and put the other two in their places.

These last couple of weeks have also included three courses where we’ve welcomed some great people to learn about urban hens and family to explore keeping chickens and bees for themselves.

On Wednesday a friend told me about some honey bees that have set up home in her loft and I told her ‘It’s the perfect day for a swarm’, little did I know that when inspecting my bees only an hour later would I see the queen and a her entourage up and leave the hive flying around my face. Fortunately, I was fully protected within my smock and veil and therefore ready to collect the swarm when it settled on one of our apple trees, Andy’s skep that he made in January was the perfect receptacle to collect them in and they are now safely re-hived in our old National Hive in another corner of the garden. So here at Hen Corner, halfway between Harrods and Heathrow, we have All Flight Paths Clear at Terminals 1, 2 & 3…

On Thursday, it was a delight to spend the morning at The Priory School in Wimbledon; we spent 3 hours together looking at bees, their habitats, life-cycle and wider roles in the food that we eat. The Year 2 pupils had some great questions like ‘Who decides which bee can be the queen?’, ‘Why are boy bees so lazy?’, and ‘How do you take honey out of the hive?’. We are working with other London schools next month, let us know if we can help a school near you.

Thursday evening brought the opportunity to celebrate Abel & Cole’s 25th Birthday at The Bigger Buzz. Cocktails from the Pollinator Bar served with gorgeous canapes set the scene for Dr Nigel Raine and The Bumblebee Conservation Trust telling us all about bees, their behaviour, and preferences, not forgetting their crucial role in pollinating a third of the food that we eat.

Finally, if we want to pass the message on to the next generation these Perdie & Boo Bee T Shirts are as sweet as honey…

Collins Beekeeper's BibleBook of the Month:

Collins Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, honey, recipes and other home uses

This month, the busiest in the Bee Keeping Year, we are featuring a beautiful book that my parents bought me in the earlier stages of Plan Bee it contains history, facts, recipes and beautiful illustrations that will delight those who are fascinated by bees both up close and from a distance.

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • I’ve discovered a huge cauliflower that has been slowly growing in the kitchen garden
  • Our pig, that we are sharing with our good friend Jono, is doing well and was featured in a local paper
  • Sadly, our peach tree has suffered from peach leaf curl so no Bellinis this year…

Jobs for next week:

  • Plan for the tree surgeons to come and trim our biggest trees
  • Plant into the raised beds the baby plants from the cold frame
  • Keep a bottle of cider in the fridge ready for long summer evenings in the garden

Hen logo goodHave a good week yourself…

Join us on the Journey!


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