A Beekeeper's Progress

A Beekeeper's Progress

by John Phipps


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781906122560
Publisher: Merlin Unwin Books
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Teacher in the East of England, Phipps has now moved to Greece where he keeps bees today.

He is the editor of the Beekeepers Quarterly and Beekeepers Annual and an expert in beekeeping practices around the world.

Read an Excerpt

Mr Cranidge (it was always Mr Cranidge and Mr Phipps — formal, yet friendly) let me keep the Apidictor and whilst it was too late to predict swarms we had great fun with it the following year when we connected it to the classroom observation hive. I never used it as a swarm predictor. I used the time-honoured way of simply tapping the side of the hive and listening for the volume and duration of the hiss emitted by the bees.

I received another interesting present from Mr Cranidge. It was an original Catenary Hive. The County Bee Instructor for Yorkshire, Bill Bielby, had developed this hive as a more natural home for bees. He said, quite rightly, that when bees build nests in the wild, the combs take on a catenary shape; that is the shape you get when you hold a long piece of string loosely between outstretched hands.

He made the hive by bending a very thin piece of marine ply to the required shape and fastening it to the sides of vertical pieces of exterior ply. Instead of using standard frames, the bees were just given top bars at the normal spacing to which had been added strips of wax foundation. The bees built enormous combs in this hive which needed careful handling. The boxes for honey were placed as normal on top of the catenary-shaped brood box, but again, just starter strips of bees wax were put in the top bars.

Bill developed this system for people who wished to keep bees but didn't want the expense of conventional beekeeping. When it came to extracting honey he showed that by cutting out the combs and hanging them up in a bag of muslin they could be compressed and strained without any additional equipment. Undoubtedly, Bill Bielby was the first beekeeping advisor who was concerned that the craft could be carried out in the simplest way possible and with the least expense. He was the fore-runner of those who today promote sustainable beekeeping.

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