Beekeeping is the practice of keeping honeybees (Apis mellifera) in hives to collect honey and beeswax and to pollinate crops. The location in which hives are kept is usually called an apiary.

Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies led by a single queen. The queen mates and lays fertilised eggs to produce sterile female workers and unfertilised eggs to produce male drones. Workers carry out various age-related tasks to maintain the colony during their life cycle before flying away from the hive to forage for nectar and pollen.

Honeybees collect nectar from flowers as a source of carbohydrate energy and store it in honeycomb. They also collect pollen as a source of protein and it is this activity that makes them most valuable to the world and to humans. Honeybees are a major pollinator of crops – one third of all the food that we eat is pollinated by honeybees.

Beekeeping is an absorbing hobby and there is so much to learn about this industrious little insect. The world of the honeybee is both fascinating and awe-inspiring!

More information about honeybees and beekeeping will soon be available under FAQs.


4 thoughts on “Beekeeping

  1. Hello Emma,

    Thought you might be interested to see these two blogposts about high varroa counts: – these guys are in London and using thymol/oxalic acid for their high varroa counts – this beekeeper is in Canada and finding over 300 mites dropping a week. They’re using something called Apivar strips, which I don’t think we have here?

    My varroa count seemed high too a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately I had to go to Scotland for a funeral this weekend and couldn’t get down to have a look at them. Did you meet up with Pat to do any treatments?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Emily,

      Thanks for the links, that is interesting.

      Pat was really great and helped me treat my hive with lactic acid. You can get it from brewery shops and dilute it. You have to open the whole hive and spray every frame both sides with bees on. The weather needs to be fairly dry as you are making the bees wet, so luckily the weather held out this weekend. The lactic acid burns the tongues of the varroa so that they can’t feed and drop off and die. It is thought to be quite effective. But the oxalic acid treatment mid-December is thought to almost kill them off completely.

      Pat did mention that the apiary may be using some sort of strips next year, it might be apivar which would be exciting!

      It’s a monthly meeting this Saturday, but I am going to the apiary beforehand to check my varroa count since the treatment. I can check your varroa board too if you like?

      Sorry to hear about your funeral. I had my nan’s recently but it felt better afterwards.

      Best wishes,

  2. Hi Emma,

    Glad that Pat helped you and the rain held off for long enough. Hopefully all the nasty varroa have dropped off.

    I might go down beforehand too, as I need to put my mouseguard on. Do you know an easy way to get from the apiary to the scout hut?


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