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I guess that this year, anything which started out wonky in the hives has proved to be really hard to set right. I made the mistake of hoping that, come the sunshine and some big nectar flows, a touch of nosema would be busily swept away - and that substituting a drone-laying 2012 Queen with a nubile, red-dotted youngster would restore Shard to its former glories. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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Bee-haiku Competition

Bee-haiku competition - write your own and post it here. Just be sure to use the simple 3-line haiku format: Line 1 : 5 syllables Line 2: 7 syllables Line 3: 5 syllables.

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The Unflappables

Here is a YouTube clip, with the first few moments of my elder son and I taking a swarm in White’s Ground’s, just off Bermondsey Street. Here’s to the real heroes of this clip: those unflappable Bermondsey bystanders watching this urban swarm collection without bee-suits. Impressed !

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In The Apiary : Mid-May : A Bad Day On The Hives

It has been one of those days: a couple of beekeeping blunders and a bit of bad news on Queen Ruby of Shard. Nothing terminal, mind. Just a little vexation. And reproach. And frustration.....

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Dancing In The Dark

You may be one of the few fortunate souls on god’s green earth who has not been button-holed recently by a beekeeper complaining about how depressingly poor the last couple of years have been for bees. But in any case, you are probably aware of the severe pressure on bee-populations, of the trials and tribulations of the craft of beekeeping. But please take away from this monograph that, however tough it has seemed, there are still rewarding moments to be extracted, jewels of appreciation to be mined with a hive-tool - including the simple waggle of a single bee !

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BLink: Extreme Beekeeping

Nepalese Beekeeer

Thanks to Sophia Hill, entrepreneuse and ingénue smuggler of Bermondsey Street Honey to Burt’s Bees HQ in North Carolina, for sending this arresting article on Nepalese honey-harvesting:

Men from the Gurung tribe from Western Nepal, braving immense danger, are dedicated to the tradition of the 8,000 year old “hunt”. Using indigenous tools and resources, such as a 200 foot rope ladder and balancing baskets and a long pole, they chisel their way to a giant honey comb of up to 2 million bees.”

Will Saturday afternoons at the LDBKA Apiary ever be the same again ?

The Buzz: Leonardo’s Flying Machine

Leonardo's Design For A Flying Machine

Hmmm – where do you think Leonardo da Vinci got his design for his “flying machine” in 1488 ? I think I know…..

Bee & Milkthistle

Word Of Mouth

It is a sure sign that Spring has finally arrived once bees of all shapes and sizes start busily gathering nectar and pollen from flowers. And if you just allowed yourself to stop in the sunshine....

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BLink: Boum! Celebrate A Sunny Bank Holiday


From his 1938 film “La route enchantée“, Charles Trenet’s “Boum” catches the insouciant mood of the pre-WWII era (is it any wonder the Germans felt like “having a pop” at the French in 1939 – the aura of invincibility epitomised by Napoleon’s trademark bee-symbol was clearly a thing of the past)

And yes, it’s bee-related – if you listen closely enough, the word “abeille” does crop up towards the end of this song (about 1.29 in, to be precise). And of course, I love the flower-heads popping out in the last chorus. Sadly, M.Trenet’s repertoire did not stretch to bee-impressions.

Say what you like about the French, but when it comes to “light entertainment” (couture, cuisine, cinema, causerie, chanson) they are unbeatable !




What’s in a name ? I didn’t get it when my wife suggested that I give the new Queen in Shard Hive a name.

“She’s already got one,” I replied cheerily: “It’s JC1.0.O.4.13.NZ”.

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