Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.6

It turns out the injury to my hand was more serious that I thought, so recovery is still ongoing. This has held me back from placing the last concrete slab on my hive site. I still don’t have bees yet, but I think that’s a good thing given everything.

I’ve been to the Coventry Branch apiary hives to help out with inspections. It was a wake up call as I became aware of some items I didn’t think to get at BeeTradex. I’ve now placed an order for dummy boards & smoker chips. I also think I may need more frames than I’ve got at present. I’ve prepared a binder for hive records. Once my order has arrived, I should have everything I need.

Might be a good idea for me to have a quick skim through a few chapters of the BBKA Guide to Beekeeping.

Denali Enns

Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.5

When I look back at my first entry from December 2017 I wrote that I hoped to have everything completed by end of February 2018. (Insert sardonic laughter
here). I’m still not 100% finished. I’m one concrete slab away from being done.

Unfortunately, due to one of the slabs landing flat on my hand, I had to to leave the project incomplete. As soon as I feel my fingers are ready to handle that sort of physical work, I’ll finish it. As it is, the site could hold one hive easily and two hives close together. In retrospect, I should have chosen a more level site. It’s taken over 150 kg of gravel to level it. Hopefully, I never have to do this again!

The overall location is really good. I’ve got red & white clover seedlings ready for planting around the concrete slabs. I’ve been cultivating wildflowers such as Cowslips, Foxgloves, Common Valerium and Giant Bellflower for the nearby forest. I noticed some Bluebells already there.

The hives are all painted and set up with frames & the nuc is ready to receive whatever bees come its way. If all goes well, I may actually have bees next time I write.

Denali Enns

Asian hornet identified in Lancashire

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Bury area of Lancashire. It was spotted by a member of the public in a cauliflower, which has since been traced back to Boston, Lincolnshire.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and work is already underway to identify any nests, which includes setting up a surveillance zone and traps in the two identified locations and deploying bee inspectors to visit local beekeepers.

Full article here

Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.4

I’ve had more delays on the apiary site due to weather and work commitments. The gravel is down and laying the concrete slabs is the next job. I hope to have the site completed and the hives painted by Easter weekend.

I bought two complete hives with extra supers at Bee Tradex. I decided to go with National poly hives for the following reasons:

  • Good reviews from current poly hive owners
  • They are lighter weight than cedar
  • Excellent insulating properties
  • Affordability
  • Can be mixed with cedar National Hive components (according to the

My husband and I spent the rest of that weekend making nearly 70 brood and super frames with wax foundation. I must credit my husband for his patience as all the hive and bee equipment, including the painting supplies, are now stuffed into our third bedroom. It’s an eyesore! (Another reason I need to get the hives painted and site finished ASAP!).

I’m hoping to be able to purchase one or two overwintered nucs from the Coventry Branch Apiary, but I won’t know if they have any spare nucs to sell until our spring weather is more settled. I’ve also put my name down to assist with swarm collection, so I can learn more about it and obtain a swarm (or two) for my hives if needed.

Denali Enns

Apimondia 2019 Announced

Montréal will be hosting the 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress in 2019.
As many of you know, APIMONDIA is the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations. Its major objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and discussions by organizing Congresses and Symposia where beekeepers, scientists, honey-traders, agents for development, technicians and legislators meet to listen, discuss and learn from one another. Apimondia meetings are fabulous events that offer great opportunities to learn about all the aspects of the beekeeping world. During these meetings, from morning until late evening, participants explore various exhibits and learn about cutting edge research from all parts of the world.

The official website is HERE

Healthy Bee Day Announced 19th May 2018

Open to beekeepers from Warwickshire and adjoining counties, a day of practical workshops and demonstrations covering all aspects of bee health including the chance to inspect diseased comb.  This will be led by the Regional Bee Inspector, assisted by members of his staff

Cost :-£15 , Tea/coffee included. Bring your own lunch. Delegates will receive a Healthy Bee guide for use in the apiary.

All 60 places now allocated

Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.3

In terms of preparing my site, I’m more behind than planned due to delays with finding a strimmer. It’s not a practical purchase for us as we can manage our yard with pruning shears and a small mower…and storage space for anything is very limited.

The allotment informed me that they had a strimmer for members to borrow, but it was’t working at the moment. They were hoping some of the men would be able to fix it. After a couple of weeks waiting and hearing nothing, I asked the members of my local beekeepers association. Thankfully, one member had a strimmer which he was willing to lend me (I’m very grateful for that). As a result, I am able to report that I got the site cleared of brambles & weeds! My husband was nearby to provide encouragement and medical support in the event I strimmed my legs off. Thankfully, there were no such issues.

The next step involves levelling the site with gravel before placing concrete slabs.

Regarding hives: I’m still not 100% decided on which type to buy at BeeTradex…Poly vs Cedar. I’m going to visit a beekeeper who has poly hives to see how he’s gotten on with them. Following this, I’m hoping to have more clarity which hive type to choose.

Denali Enns

Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.2

On December 30th I met with the allotment coordinator to determine if we could find a suitable place on the allotment for placing two hives. Basically, here’s how it stands.


  • All the allotment members were in agreement to the hives being present.
  • Short drive from home and able to bring the car quite close to the hives.
  • The site is secure either by fencing, locked gate or very thick brambles.
  • Two holders have chickens and pigeons in coops on their allotments.
  • There is a nearby swamp and stream.
  • There’s a lot of natural forage available already, including early spring & winter forage.
  • I can locate my hives away from the actual allotments on the edge of a small willow copse, which will also provide shade against the afternoon sun in the summer.


  • The site requires a lot of heavy work to prepare it!

I’ve signed the papers and will pick up my allotment key on January 20th. I’m giving myself until the end of February to get a site cleared, levelled, gravelled, sanded then covered with concrete slabs.

I’m planning on going to BeeTradex on March 3rd as I’ll need to make some rather big purchases. I’m currently researching which type of hive to purchase & what components I’ll need to pick up. I’m not completely decided on anything at present. Currently my priorities are finding a solid streamer and
preparing the site. And in case anyone was wondering…

I did not get a hive tool in my stocking at Christmas but I did get a copy of The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, 2nd Edition!

Denali Enns

Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.1

Success! I received an offer of interest and may have a suitable location for two hives of bees this coming spring! Exciting! We’ve arranged to meet on December 30th to determine the most suitable location for the bees. It may turn out not to be a suitable site, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

My name is Denali & I’m new to beekeeping. I’ve been asked to write this column from a novice perspective; the challenges, failures & successes.

Continue reading “Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.1”