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Natural Beekeeping > General Chat > Introduce Yourself

Posted by: Tavascarow Jun 20 2010, 05:49 AM
Welcome to the Cornish natural beekeepers site.
Pull up a chair & make yourself comfortable.
Tell us a bit about yourself & your bees, or beekeeping aspirations.

Posted by: carolyne Jun 20 2010, 04:27 PM
I have a top bar hive. I live in roseland cornwall and am interested in aquiring a bee swarm. I can offer the bees a lovely home out in the country. Any help would be marvellous.

Posted by: Tavascarow Jun 20 2010, 05:39 PM
Hi Carolyne.
Welcome to the site.
If you PM me your contact details, daytime phone number etc I will add you to the swarm list.
I'm acting as our group swarm coordinator so if I hear of one in your area I will let you know.
I would also say let your neighbourhood know you are looking for bees.
Local post office, community bobby, that sort of thing.
The more people that know you are looking the more chance you have.
If it's to difficult for you to collect yourself, one of us here might be able to assist.
Steve M.

Posted by: Beebass Jun 20 2010, 05:46 PM
I'm Steve, I live in St Austell and have been keeping bees for a whole year now rolleyes.gif
I just jumped in at the deep-end I'm afraid, but my original colony appears to be doing fine, the swarm it generated in May is now filling, and I do mean filling, a TBH I bought from eBay. The bait hives I distributed worked in a way I had not predicted as although they didn't catch 'my' swarm (next door's cotoneaster had that distinction) they managed to attract one other swarm and the smell of the pheromones must have attracted yet another as I literally tripped over a third swarm in my garden about three weeks ago. So, I now have four colonies, the original in a National hive, the swarm from that is in a full-size TBH and the two bonus swarms are currently occupying a TBH nuc hive and a National nuc hive.
In the last year I have been stung about 20 times and I can say, hand on heart, that I thoroughly deserved each and every one. Possibly not the last one which I received last night however, as the little darling managed to penetrate a leather was the canvas part, but even so....
I have probably reached full capacity now, although I have partially-formed plans to convert a another bit of garden into a potential hive-housing area, but six will definitely be my limit.
This time last year I'd never heard of Top Bar Hives and it wasn't until recently when I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by Phil Chandler that I became a convert. I have to say that I am a pretty casual convert however, I do prefer TBHs, but I will not be burning my two Nationals anytime soon. They will be replaced with TBHs when they wear out/fall apart however.
I'll keep my ear to the ground for any swarms that come my way as, now I have reached my current limit, I would be happy to pass on any more I stumble across.
I think the other Steve (Tavascarow) is keeping a list of people who need bees...
EDIT: He is...see post above smile.gif

Posted by: Beebass Jun 22 2010, 10:44 PM

I notice there are a couple of members who's status is still showing as 'validating'. This is because, to become a full member, you have to reply to the email the board automatically sends you upon registration. Quite often this simply goes into the spam folder of your PC, so, if you are having difficulties...check your spam folder....

Posted by: Tavascarow Jun 23 2010, 12:10 AM
I'm Steve & live near St Austell.
Been keeping bees conventionally for many years.
Have been reading the posts on the for three years & convinced it is the way forward.
Only just embarking on my natural beekeeping but soaking it up like a sponge.

Posted by: Brookside Jul 13 2010, 10:14 AM
Hi Everyone,

Katie and I came along to your St Trudy Meeting Last Month with Steve. Very inspired and have now built a Top bar hive. Will put some pictures up soon



Posted by: Janco2 Jul 13 2010, 12:10 PM
Hi Mark and Katie,

We did see you at St Tudy but we didn't have an opportunity to speak to you.
Very pleased to hear that you now have a top bar hive.
We look forward to seeing any photos.

Jan and Colin

Posted by: Tavascarow Jul 15 2010, 05:33 AM
Hello & a big welcome from me too. smile.gif
Sorry our swarm turned out to be bumbles, hopefully we will have better luck next time.

Posted by: gunther Jul 25 2010, 08:48 PM
Hi All
i'm gunther, have 2hives near gunnislake.
i practise non intervention , no treatment. cool.gif

the hives are homemade (national dimensions), fixed comb, with a small (1x4inch) opening in the crownboard.

in a bad year i could feed, in a good year (like this one tongue.gif ) i can super with a small box rolleyes.gif

i do NOT open the hive.
2 years running all is well (touch hive) biggrin.gif
1 loss due to queen failure only in 2008.

regards gunther

Posted by: Janco2 Jul 25 2010, 08:55 PM
Hello Again Gunther,

Glad you made it here. smile.gif

Jan and Colin

Posted by: Tavascarow Jul 26 2010, 12:25 PM
Hi Gunther.
What you're doing sounds very interesting.
I'm trying something similar with national & commercial equipment myself but running it along the same lines as a Warre hive.
Empty boxes put under in the spring & harvesting from above in the autumn.
Do you use a mesh or solid floor in your hives?

Posted by: gunther Jul 27 2010, 08:25 PM
QUOTE (Tavascarow @ Jul 26 2010, 12:25 PM)
Hi Gunther.
What you're doing sounds very interesting.
I'm trying something similar with national & commercial equipment myself but running it along the same lines as a Warre hive.
Empty boxes put under in the spring & harvesting from above in the autumn.
Do you use a mesh or solid floor in your hives?

Hi Tavascarow

i have solid floors
one of my hives (this year's swarm) will actually also be run warrestyle.
it is 3 boxes high, so nothing doing till end of next year.

regards gunther

Posted by: steved6530 Mar 25 2011, 07:45 AM
Hi everybody

My name is Steve from Exeter. I know its not part of Cornwall..yet, but am interested in natural beekeeping and reading views and comments from all over the country to improve my knowledge.

I currently use nationals and have just built my first TBH as per Phil Chandlers instructions. Eagerly awaiting swarming season to get started.

Will keep you posted with all my success................and failures!!

Posted by: Beebass Mar 26 2011, 02:01 PM
Hi Steve!

Welcome to the forum... smile.gif

I think we are all waiting for the new season to kick off, the recent good weather should certainly help.


Posted by: Pamela Jane May 16 2011, 08:38 PM
Hi, I've just joined the forum and am new to bee keeping.

My husband has made a HTBH while waiting for delivery of a Warre hive kit which, having finally arrived, we have now just completed. Both hives are now awaiting occupants.

We are lucky to have a bee colony in our chimney, that moved in there about 4 years ago and are hoping we may get a swarm from them. However if they don't swarm we would really like to acquire a swarm/nucleus elsewhere. Any help in this direction would be much appreciated.

Posted by: Janco2 May 18 2011, 02:46 PM
Hello Pamela Jane,
Hope you manage to obtain a swarm soon.

We have 2 TBH's but only one is occupied. We had hoped to obtain a swarm from our bees but they only just made it through last winter and are still building up numbers.

Jan and Colin

Posted by: Vee May 22 2011, 05:04 PM
Welcome Pamela Jane - and I hope you get bees soon - although the weather we've been having has made it rather difficult for them! High winds (which have been so much in evidence) are not a help for a swarm and so far my 3 potential hives have been playing it safe, so fingers crossed.
All the best, V (short for Vini)

Posted by: Pamela Jane Jun 17 2011, 01:35 PM
Thanks Jan, Colin and Vini for your reply's

After what seemed a long wait we finally obtained a swarm on Monday evening, walked them up into the Warre hive on Tuesday morning.

There are have been bees coming into the hive with pollen. The person who gave us the swarm gave us an old frame of honey and we did feed them 500gms cane sugar syrup when we hived them. But today has been cold and rainy - not sure whether to feed them again or not?

I am wondering how many other members on here are in West Cornwall?

Pam (& Noel)

Posted by: Janco2 Jun 18 2011, 05:36 PM
Really pleased to hear you have a swarm Pam and Noel.

We are near Lostwithiel, rather a long way from you. Bees coming in with pollen is a good sign but you may need to feed them again if the poor weather continues. Watch them as much as you can and if you see any sign of a drop in activity then I would feed them. Do let us know how your bees get on.

Our 1 hive has built up quite well now and as soon as we get a good day we intend adding more top bars.


Posted by: Vee Jun 23 2011, 06:17 AM
So glad you've got bees!
The weather has been so foul that I've heard of several people whose bees don't have stores so there has been general advice to keep a keen eye on them to prevent starvation. One of the problems has been a shortage of nectar through the long, dry patch.
Anyway, I've kept my winter fondant on the hives that had it - and was given a huge swarm last weekend which is now chucking syrup down at a terrific rate - but building comb at the same rate!
All the best, Vini

Posted by: PamelaD Jul 20 2011, 07:34 AM
Hello, I am Pamela D and I live in Truro.

I would very much like to keep bees, but before attempting to do this, I need to gather information on how to do this properly. I am here to read and learn.

Posted by: Janco2 Jul 24 2011, 10:46 PM
Just wanted to say hello Pamela D.
Unfortunately all is quiet on this forum this year.
We have recently been given a small nucleus so now have 2 hives.
Currently we have a problem with numerous wasps robbing the nucleus.
We are hoping the weather will improve so the new bees can get out more and build up their colony.
The main Biobees forum is the place to go for information.

Posted by: Mellifera Mellifera Aug 15 2011, 11:11 PM

I live in SE Cornwall and am a conventional beekeeper interested in more natural beekeeping methods.

Namely, natural comb and not using chemicals in the hive; as well as only taking honey that is truly an the bees shouldn't need to be fed from taking their own away.

Posted by: Janco2 Aug 18 2011, 09:04 PM
Welcome M M,

Top Bar Hives are the way for you to go then or perhaps Warre hives.

We are back to the 1 TBH now having lost our 2nd one to wasps. Fortunately that one is doing well.

We live in Mid Cornwall but there are several others on this site from SE Cornwall.

Posted by: Pamela Jane Aug 18 2011, 09:43 PM
Sorry, Jan and Colin to hear you have lost a hive to wasps. They seem to be a problem this year. We have caught quite a lot in wasp traps and are keeping our fingers crossed for our Warre colony.

Pam & Noel

Posted by: Janco2 Aug 20 2011, 12:19 PM
Thanks Pam and Noel,

Sounds as if your Warre Colony are doing fine. That's good news.
Our main colony are keeping the wasps out fortunately.

We did everything we could think of to help our small nucleus to survive but really there weren't enough bees to fight off wasps. We also killed a large number in wasp traps and I went down every day and spent a lot of time killing the wasps as they were trying to get in the hive. Very sad but just one of those things I suppose.

We didn't see any wasps around our one hive the whole of last season.

Jan (and Colin)

Posted by: Paul Aug 22 2011, 08:55 AM
Jan & Colin,

Sorry to hear that you've lost a colony to wasps.

I guess once they start invading there isn't a lot that can be done.
However having said that, I was unaware that the problem could get so severe that a small colony could be lost.
I have two hives in my back garden (small and large) and so far this year
I have hardly seen any wasps, but now I'll be even more vigilant
(especially since I removed some honey from my large hive yesterday).

Have you any idea why so many were attracted to your hives, for example, are your hives situated in an orchard?

Welcome MM, I live in Saltash and you are more than welcome to pop around and have a look at the TBH set up.

Posted by: Janco2 Aug 23 2011, 06:54 PM
Hi Paul,

Yes, our hives are both in an orchard. For some reason we have had a lot more wasps around this year both in the orchard and all around. We had to destroy a wasps nest very close to our house earlier this year as they were too close for comfort and we have our grandchildren around quite a lot.

We will be more vigilant in future. There were literally many hundreds of wasps around the hives and the bees in the smaller hive were just letting them get in whereas in our main hive the bees were staying at the entrances and fighting the wasps off.

We have now placed a 'waspinator' near both hives which is meant to imitate a wasps' nest and thus keep them away. There are very few wasps around there now but that may be because we have cleaned out the redundant hive. We are keeping a close watch on our remaining hive.

It is a great pity that we have not managed to get together this year. We really enjoyed the meetings we had last year.

Sounds as if your two hives are doing well. That's good news. Perhaps next year we will manage to obtain another swarm or nucleus. We are just thankful that we still have the one hive.

Best wishes,

Jan and Colin

Posted by: Vee Aug 29 2011, 08:19 AM
Hello Everyone suffering from wasps,

Others are also having problems this year which may link to the weather conditions that has allowed an amazing fruit harvest.

Despite waspinators I've seen wasps cruising round my 5 hives and have accidentally come up with a way of distracting them - I feed blackbirds (and some others) raisins / sultanas /currants which the wasps love and since they don't have to fight for them they concentrate on them instead of the hives. I also park a discreet trap nearby baited with 50/50 honey and water, allowed to stand for 24 hours to start fermenting. The bees won't touch this.

Apparently worker wasps are fed sweet stuff by their larvae in return to the meat they bring in during nest expansion but at this time of the year the job is over so the hunt for sweet food is on.

If rats are a consideration, a net container of raisins hung from a tree might help keep the furry lot at bay.

All the best, Vee

Posted by: Paul Aug 29 2011, 08:23 PM
Jan & Clive,
You may be able to split your colony next year.
I planned on splitting mine, however being inexperienced in these matters I was relying on a friend to assist.
Unfortunately he went on holiday and the bees didn't wait until he returned.
They swarmed early on a Monday morning as I was leaving for work and as result I couldn't recover them.

Posted by: Janco2 Aug 31 2011, 05:08 PM
We must look into how to split a colony so we'll ready for next year if the occasion arises.

We would like to increase our number of hives to about 3 eventually but we are happy that we do still have the one hive as others haven't been so fortunate.

We haven't taken any honey this year so are hoping we won't need to feed them.

Wasp problem seems to have diminished now.

Pity you were unable to catch your swarm, our daughter was in the same situation earlier this year as hers swarmed on one of the days that she was working.

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