Bad beekeeping

A photographic essay.

Hive #2, "flattop", with a smoker on top and surrounded by a carpet of weeds. The bees don't really mind that, I think. The observant will notice the roof is in rather poor condition - but its been like that for years and not getting much worse - and the queen excluder is above the first super, which is careless of me.


Hive #1 is even more covered in weeds, perhaps a little more than is desireable. The odd blob on top is my gloves.

General view, with my shed in the background.

Looking the other way to the (not visible) stream at the bottom. The triffid on the left is a horseradish, I'm assured.

After some vigourous weed-pulling. The wet June has been bad for weeds, in the sense that they've grown well and that's bad.

Hive #1. The decayed bit at the front is the "alighting board" but bees don't need it.

And for completeness the de-weeded #2 also.

Oh dear. Who left a garden inside the top of my hive?

Remove roof and cap board, and all is fairly quiet.

Yes, pretty quiet. In a good year, they'd have filled the empty space (that really should have frames in it) with comb.

One layer down. I remember now, I didn't get round to putting wax into all the frames, but hoped the bees would. But, its all looking pretty thin in there. Not hopeful.

Pffft. Is that all? Just one small capped area? Oh dear.

One lower, the top of the brrod box, and careful inspection shows I left the Apistan in. I really should not have done that.

The brood box. A reasonable but not overwhelming number of bees, and inspection of a couple of frames didn't show much or any brood. Well, we'll see.

A brood frame. Black as the ace of spades: it really ought to be replaced. Next year.


So much for hive #1. What of #2? Oh dear, I didn't put enough frames in did I?

Slightly less obviously, there's not a lot of honey in all that comb, either. It really hasn't been a good year.

So I took a bit out, and left the rest. Let's hope the remainder of the summer is sunnier.

More like this

At this time of the year, as I cycle past the rape fields (this isn't a reference to some Balkan horror, just the plant), I take note of the dying of the yellow, for it signifies that the spring recolte is once again due. I measure my life by the passing of such seasons: the winter league; tideway…
It is early autumn, so an old man's thoughts turn to his bees. Sadly neglected again, I wonder what they are up to? Have they produced a good honey harvest or - more likely given the rather unfortunate summer here - have they just survived? Happily I have some Apistan all saved up, and its,…
Every autumn I think - too late - that its about time I looked at my bees, took off some honey, and put on the Apistan strips. Ideally this would be done in late August, I think, because the Apistan needs to come off 6 weeks later, and once you get much into October the weather gets unfavourable to…
The peace of Sunday afternoon was disturbed when a friends children called to say, very politely, that err there was a swarm of bees in their garden and might they be mine? Possibly, I said, though you can't pin it on me guv, but I'll come and look anyway. If you're not used to looking at swarms…

The problem with not clearing around them is when ants or beetles get in and setup home.

Not many flowers in your garden either. It all looks a bit too wet for lavender and thyme, maybe put in some spearmint, peppermint and lemon balm? More borage couldn't hurt.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 03 Jul 2016 #permalink

Our bees love rosemary, which seems to flower most of the year where we live. Tough as old boots, too.


By Elli Rabett (not verified) on 04 Jul 2016 #permalink

I wrote a book called Bad Beekeeping in 2004 and have had the blog for almost 20 years. But I never managed to show such incredibly BAD beekeeping as you have. Old moldy drone comb, grass growing around the rotting boxes. Lovely. I'll bet the honey in those hives is rancid, too! Congratulations! May I repost your blog to show people how bad things can get? :)

[Sure. You're welcome to use me as a terrible example to keep people in line :-) -W]

By Ron Miksha (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

Thanks, I love it. Do you feel lucky living there? No carping from this quarter of the universe.

[Its nice to have a long garden to play in. The downside is it spoils me for elsewhere -W]

By Susan Anderson (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Honey, if you need help, let me know. I've seem worse and can tell you what you need to do to save those bees.

By noneofyour shit (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink

Thank you for this blog. I love the way you have your shortcomings displayed. To me, this is more of an educational / interest piece then anything else.

By Tyler Wheleno (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink