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Bee Time

The weather has started to warm up and the bees are starting to get out about daily instead of being trapped inside the hives. It is now time for me to check on them after the winter.

As you know I have two hives and with the amount of bees entering and exiting it looks like they have survived the winter. Can’t be 100% sure until I get in and check the queen is laying but in my opinion with the number of bees the hives must be expanding.

This year I have decided that I’m going to make some changes to my hives. Up to now I’ve used the Omlet Beehaus hives and they have been great. I’d recommend them for beginners for their ease of use and how simple they are. They are ideal for the inexperienced beekeeper and those wishing to keep bees in their gardens.

After using them now for an entire season I don’t think they are suitable for what I want to do with them in prepping. They have two limitations that are an issue for me.

First of all they are a fixed size and this sets limits on the size of each hive. I can have two in the Beehaus but when full I can’t expand any more. Secondly, the supers, areas that honey is stored in, are split vertically and it is possible that bees can have a super full of honey but starve to death because it is the wrong side of a partition. I hit that this winter and had to feed one hive while I had frames with honey in.

The reason they are issues for me now is I have a bit of knowledge, sounds dangerous, and I now know what I want to do with my bees. I want them to be more natural and I’ll only step in if they try and escape or need some help, either feeding or veterinary. They are wild animals and this species has looked after itself for tens of thousands of years with humans and animals robbing them of their honey all of that time. So they can look after themselves if we do not limit them.

Most beekeepers are in it for the honey. The bees welfare is second, maybe a close second but clearly second. I have listened over the last two years to keepers talking about their honey yield and at the same time saying they lost two or three hives out of six, one lost seven from ten. My thoughts are that I would rather get twenty pounds of honey from each hive and have three strong hives full of bees than sixty pounds from one hive no matter how healthy they are as I can lose two hives by predators or a harsh winter and still have a seed to restart from. Just one and I lose the bees.

I’m less into efficiency than resilience.

So, I’m going to move from the Beehaus and set them up using the Rose Hive Method using National Brood Boxes. National Hives are one of the most popular in the UK and many start with these as standard. The Rose Hive Method method allows the bees to live more naturally. You still have to make sure they don’t escape by swarming but it allows the hives to expand as much as they want and should make for stronger hives and resolves my first issue. In addition as there are no supers and the queen is free to roam naturally the hive is not artificially split. There is no vertical split anyway so the bees can move the honey around as they see fit which resolves the second issue.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to take the bees out of one of the two Beehaus and split them into two hives, both using Nationals. This will have one hive with a Queen and one without. The hive without will create a Queen from existing eggs and within a month I’ll have another fully working hive. If it goes well I’ll repeat that over the next few weeks with the second Beehaus and will have doubled my hives to four in total. I’ve bought some National hive parts already for this and am ready to go. Just waiting for the right weather.

I’ll then manage them using the Rose Hive Method and see how it goes.

Release of the Survival UK Wiki Site

As part of my site enhancements I have added a WiKi facility to the Survival UK suite of websites.

This WiKi, although not a true WiKi as it is not collaborative, will provide a glossary and a dictionary facility to allow people to check acronyms and phrases. There are already some common items in there but more are being added every day. In the meantime if you see an entry missing then let me know by the Contact Us form and we will ensure it is on the list of items being added.

The Survival UK suite of sites are now as follows;

SurvivalUK.Net (This site)
The site you are currently browsing. This is the primary site and is where the information and articles are published. It is intended to be the main repository of information and is intended to lead users through the processes involved to help them prepare for events. Articles on any subject with Survival or Prepping content are submitted by contributors and, if approved, will be posted and available to all.

SurvivalUK Forum
This is an interactive forum where you can discuss topics that are of interest to you. You can ask questions and answer the questions of others, participate in polls and contact like minded individuals directly. It is intended to be the main area for contact between users where all can provide advice and feedback experiences to help prepare for events. Articles on any subject with Survival or Prepping content are submitted directly by users and can be replied to by all.
Note : This area has a registration requirement which is there purely to keep out the spammers. No registration is required to read the forum, merely to contribute.

SurvivalUK Files
This is a files site and is where all external information, data sheets, PDFs and text articles are published. It is intended to be the main repository of publicly available information and comprises data of all types from survival and prepping related to books on beekeeping, gardening, woodworking as well as medical books and even some fiction. Simply connect up and download what you need.

SurvivalUK WiKi
This is a data site which lists acronyms and phrases used in the Survival and Prepping communities and defines what they mean.

SurvivalUK Contact Database
This is a data site that allows you to register your interest for getting in touch with others and look around for like minded individuals. You can then initiate a contact via the system without showing any personal information besides your username thus keeping both parties secure.
Note : This area has a registration requirement which is there purely to keep out the spammers and trolls.

SurvivalUK EMails
Forwards EMails from Survival UK domains to you. Have a Survival or Prepping EMail which simply forwards emails to your EMail Client. You simply need to configure your EMail client to allow sending. Available on request and subject to meeting the qualifying conditions advertised on the main site.

Looking for a new Logo and Banner

Since I have been going I have had several comments about my Logo and my Banner. Although I am comfortable with them as I see the banner being a debris hut, that nobody has recognised, so what could be better than that in my view and the logo is simply someone out fending for themselves which is what we are all about.

I have been reluctantly forced into accepting that the Logo and Banner may not be the best for the sites because quite simply you, the public, don’t like them.

So I am again asking for your help to rectify this issue.

Anyone got any suggestions for a Logo and/or a Banner for the Survival UK sites. Needs to be something simple and in line with our aims. I’ll even offer a set of 12 books from the self sufficiency range as a prize.

NorthWest RV

Now I’m getting back in the saddle I was thinking it was about time we had another RV for the NW crowd.

So I’m arranging a get together on the 7th June 2015, venue is near Chester.

On the Agenda is;
Boat building. We can look at a Boat currently being build by one of our regulars.
Alcohol Making. I’m going to do something on making alcohol for medicinal purposes and fuel.
Reloading. Centre fire and Shotguns by two of our regulars who reload regularly.

It’s only a few weeks away and if you are interested send me an email and I’ll give you the details nearer the time.