Hi, I’m Gillian the beekeeper and I fell into this excellent project by happy accident, so the bees and I would like to welcome to you to our B Log from the Gatwick apiary.
Gatsbee Apiary in Ashley's Field
As it’s a project about biodiversity, our philosophy is about wildlife rather than honey...
...but the odd pot or two is always a bonus.
Last season, Tom and Rachel soon became hooked on beekeeping and with their background of conservation and preservation, it seems appropriate for us to provide as natural a life as possible for the bees while trying not to let them go completely wild.
We recently moved Diana's (one of our queen bees) hive into the natural copse after the weather had been cold for several days, and propped a large branch over the entrance so that when the bees came out, they would know that their house had moved and think that their tree had fallen over. Think like a bee!
The bees cluster together in the winter, and Eve's (another queen bee) colony is under a glass cover for easy viewing. The colder the weather, the tighter the ball of bees...
...and this year I made a quilt for each hive out of an old cotton duvet cover, filled with sawdust, which will hopefully contain the warmth and absorb some of the moisture the girls create while keeping themselves warm by beating their wing muscles.
A couple of the bees braved the cold wind yesterday to go to the loo or collect water to dissolve the old stores of honey, but the sun didn't stay out long and they all rushed home before they got chilled. I know the feeling!
Stay warm. Gill