Homebred bees with good temperament and suited to our climate

Maintaining strong, healthy colonies of near-native and local honey bees headed by home-bred queens is key to our philosophy. The climate is increasingly unpredictable giving prolonged spells of wet and windy weather even in summer, also warm spells in the depths of winter when forage is very scarce.

Stocks closely related to the old British dark bee and other locally adapted stocks can forage in these poorer conditions, modulate the laying patterns of their queens to the conditions and are more frugal in winter needing less input from sugar feeding. This means they can make the most of the weather to gather crops for their own needs and surplus for harvest.

All our colonies are monitored for health, temperament and propensity to swarm. Many beekeepers tolerate defensive bees and accept high levels of swarming in their colonies. We prefer our bees to remain on the combs and not to be unacceptably defensive: the bees we sell are the same strains used for our taster days and training courses. We do not change our queens annually in an attempt to reduce swarming, instead reducing interference by trying to select for supersedure, where a daughter queen emerges and often lays side-by-side with the queen until the colony decides to end her reign. This results naturally in fewer nuisance swarms ending up, often, in chimneys and old buildings.

Worker bee