The bees swarm again

The bees swarm again

A  few days ago I wrote how queen Violette decided to swarm and then changed her mind and went back.  Amelia and I opened up the hive after they settled down and made an artificial swarm, as we had found a couple of queen cells in the hive.  One was already closed, and so we … Continue reading

Still running to keep up

Still running to keep up

The winter was mild and now the spring is coming, as it should, with sunshine and rain showers but I am still running to keep up with the changing season. The star of the moment is the Amelanchier – the blurry, white blossoming in the middle of the photograph above.  It looks better for real. … Continue reading

A swarm in April can change its mind

A swarm in April can change its mind

Amelia and went on a couple of weeks of holiday in March, but before that we made our first inspection of the four hives.  All four hives seemed be doing well but we discovered that although Cornucopia, our strongest hive had six frames of brood cells, she had also built queen cells on one frame.  After … Continue reading

How not to plant daffodils

How not to plant daffodils

March has almost finished and in this upside down year it certainly has not been “in like a lion, out like a lamb” as the winds are roaring down the country.  It continues to be exceptionally mild, going to 21 degrees centigrade a couple of days ago.  Seemingly this winter has been the mildest since … Continue reading

A welcome home

A welcome home

Back from two weeks holidays and the first thing I saw as the car turned towards the house was the bees flying around my bee hotels. It was so good to see them chasing each other and flying from beehouse to beehouse. These are the male Osmia cornuta with longer antenna than the female and cute … Continue reading

A February of contradictions

A February of contradictions

It has not really been a cold month, with hardly any frost but in the middle of the month there was a hard one that froze the molehills, making cunning trip traps for me as I made my way down the garden.  It has been a good winter for the moles. The frost tried to … Continue reading

A barbastelle in the atelier

A barbastelle in the atelier

I suppose we should have realised from the time of year that we could be receiving a visit from our friendly Barbastelle bat (see https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/many-happy-returns/ and https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/a-furry-visitor/).  We have been looking around the front shutters but when Kourosh went out to collect some logs from the outbuilding the other day he felt a bat fly around his head … Continue reading

Is It Spring yet?

Is It Spring yet?

Recently we have had a few rainy days and the mornings were misty.  I have, therefore, been a the little late feeding our visitors with whom we share our garden.  I was not talking about the bees for once, but the birds.  Before Amelia and I even finish our breakfast, they gather outside our dining room hoping … Continue reading

Nice to see you girls

Nice to see you girls

This being our first year as beekeepers, I entered winter with some trepidation.  We were told that during the four to five months of winter the queen bees stop laying eggs and the bees stay mostly in their hives in a tight bunch to stay warm and economise their precious stock of honey. Even by the standards … Continue reading