The Orchard Bees
Some background information
Bridport Town Council kindly agreed that BCOG may keep bees in the Orchard. Withy panels, incorporating a gate, were originally put up to fencing north and south of the area behind the apple cordons. These panels have been removed, and the area was re-fenced in 2013.
The horizontal top bar hive was installed on Friday 13th July 2012, and the bees - about 3,000 in number - were introduced into the hive on the following Monday.
To find out more information about the arrival and settling in of our bees, please read the July 2012 report from BCOG's beekeeper, Jim Binning.
In April 2013, the BCOG Committee agreed to the addition of another top bar hive in the bee enclosure. The hive is complete and in place, and home to the second swarm of our bees.
Jim visits the bees regularly and welcomes interested observers. To arrange a visit to the Orchard bees, please use the contact form.
For further information about natural beekeeping, visit Jim's website: jimthebee.co.uk
The bees in the Orchard have flourished this year. The hive nearest the gate produced sufficient bees for me to start 3 new colonies around Bridport. They also swarmed into the Warre hive.They initially settled in well but then were slow to increase to a size I felt would comfortably survive the winter. I have been feeding them regularly and will continue to nurse them and hope they fare well in the Spring. This hive was also under attack by wasps. It seems to be a good year for wasps and I know of a few hives taken over and killed off but fortunately they managed to fight them off albeit with the help of a couple of traps.
The middle hive swarmed in the summer and the new queen did not make it back from its mating flights. Such losses are on the increase and could be as high as 25%. One reason given is the increased use of neonicotinoids. I re-queened with a mated British Black Bee queen and she was accepted and the hive is doing well. Click on this link to view a short clip of the bees (thanks to Jim Binning)
May : There is only one hive with a colony of bees at the
moment, the right hand top bar hive. I plan to populate the other top
bar and Warre hive with colonies obtained from nearby.
4th June: The hives were visited by Jim, as a swarm had been reported earlier on one of the trees, but this was not visible at the time of his visit. The bees may have now colonised the empty hive and plenty were seen going in and out of the two top bar hives.
✯ The top bar hive explained: download a diagram here.
Reports from earlier years available on request
"The physiology of bees":
a one-page article by Jim Binning