We started keeping bees in 2010 after going on a beekeeping course. It was one of the most interesting courses we’d attended (and we’ve been to a fair few between us!)
We currently run a number of hives, using both Dadants and deep-brood Nationals. Initially all of our bees were kept in Dadant hives, but the weight of the supers meant that checking became a heavy job and we always needed Pops to lift for us!
We keep two strains of bees. The first is ‘Buckfast Bees’, as they are from the strains kept by Brother Adam and Buckfast Abbey. Originally, these bees were kept in Dadant hives (hence us initially using them) due to how prolific they are. It is common to have a larger brood-box on a National that houses them, or even to use a standard brood-box and a super to help house their ever-increasing number. The second stain is the ‘Cornish Black’, a smaller, darker bee than the Buckfast, but with a very frugal attitue that doesn’t mind flying in our mizzle!
As keen gardeners we were keen to see the difference that bees made to our crops. We were amazed! These little insects turned our fruit harvest from ‘good’ to ‘stunning’ to the extent where our damson tree needed extra propping up. We’re hoping that they will work their magic again now they have moved near to the orchard on Binty’s Farm.