I have been beekeeping for 40 years below is some basic equipment and knowledge to get started

BK01_190 BK02_190 BK03_344
BK04_233 BK05_173



W B C Hive

invented by  W B Carr.  The differences between this hive and the National Hive is it has a double wall with a air gap between outer and inner walls This help to  protect against the elements.


National Hive


Hives can be purchased in
Kit Form

BK06_188The brood  & Super frames are bought in flat pack

The Wax can be purchased with wires or plain if you want to produce honey on the comb

BK07_450We have put concrete bases down with hooks  in bedded in to strap the hives down in bad weather
BK08_228 BK09_228 BK10_450



A new foundation super

these can be purchased as a DIY kit or complete . This can be purchased with or without wire . If cut comb is required use unwired foundation


 A new super at the bottom

At the top is a super that has been capped ready to
extract honey


BK13_450 BK14_450
The Queen excluder is paced above the brood section. This allows the workers to go through the super but stops the Queen bee entering the super.
BK15_450 BK16_450The Brood section is deeper than the super. This is where the queen lays her eggs.


BK17_450 The cover board is placed on top of the super to stop the bees gluing the roof to the super and frames, leaving esier access to the hive.

BK18_450Dissolve 1kg of sugar to 1lt warm water in the Autumn
Dissolve 1kg of sugar to 2lt warm water in the Spring
Remove Bee escape from cover board and place feeder over the hole to allow the bees to enter the feeder from underneath.


BK19_450 BK20_450The Hive tool is used to separate glued parts, eg frames, super, etc.BK21_450


This is used to calm the bees. A couple of puffs of smoke at the hive entrance, wait a minute before opening the hive, then use as needed.

BK22_450Electric heat knife

BK23_450 BK24_450

Smoker Fuel

Rolled up cardboard
Hessian sacking
Sisal hay cord
Smoker pellets




An inspection of the hive

Try to inspect the hive once a week weather permitting, between mid May to end of August. The main reason for doing this once a week is to prevent swarming, because the colony could make a Queen and swarm within two weeks.

If the hive is re-queened once a year you do not need to inspect so often as the colony is less likely to swarm.

Other things to look for while inspecting the hive are:

  • That the Queen is laying
  • Plenty of food supplies
  • Diseases arroa mites
  • Damage to the hive from weather, mice and deterioration
  • Wasps nests have also been found inside the hive and have to be destroyed.


 Pests & Diseases

Birds swoop down and catch them in flight and while the bees are collecting nectar & pollen. Wasps  rob the hives of honey  (to help prevent this reduce the entrance to one or two bee spaces to help the bees defend against them ). Ants  raid the hives for honey ( to help this place oils soaked rags around the legs of the hive ) and Mice cause more trouble in the winter months – they will eat lots of honey and cause damage to combs  (  Make the entrance  to small for mice to get in ).

It is normal to find dead bees outside the hive this is usually from old age.

Pictures of Varroa mites on
honey bee and larva
Several products are available to treat this parasiteMost  colony losses are caused by starvation, queenlessness, damp, or  pesticides
If the above reasons are ruled out it could be a disease and  Defra would  send a Bee inspector to investigate and advise  free of charge.



 Apis  Mellifera Carnica also known as Carniolan.

A slender honey bee with a fairly long tongue.

  • It is very docile
  • It is a good Forager
  • winters well
  • It re-juices the size of its colonies in the autumn so it is able to over-winter on minimum stores
  • A major drawback is that it more  inclined to swarm

Apis Mellifera Ligustica also known as the Italian honey bee.

  • It’s a gentle and good forager
  • It forms large colonies that produce a lot of honey
  • Major drawback is it needs large amount of stores to over-winter and does not over-winter well in areas with long cold winter.
  • Its inclined to drift from one colony to another and rob other hives

Apis  Mellifera Ligustica X Apis Mellifera  Carnica  Honey Bee.

  • Cross bred bees are more vigorous,  healthy and have the best traits of both parents.
  • It is important when crossing Carniolan bees to use the Drones  of the Carniolan  Bees and the Queen of the other strain because the swarming tenancies of the Carniolan bees.


BK32_450 Scout bees are sent out by the colony to search for new foods.
When they return they perform the wag-tail dance.This tells the other bees the direction and distance to the
new food source.
The distance the bees travel is according to the food available,
so it is therefore best to provide food close to the hive as this
will help to prolong their life span



The top Swarm is an Italian strain and the right Swarm is Carniolan Strain.

Before the swarm leaves the hive, they fill themselves up with honey. They then usually form a cluster near the hive they have left. They then send out scouts to find a new hive. When they find a new place the scouts return to the cluster and then the whole swarm  is airborne within seconds



A Young Queen Bee returning from her first mating flight she will make two or three mating flights a day over a period of two to four days, the first flight is usually about ten days after emerging she will start laying two or three days.After this, she has to make these flights within four weeks after emerging. Once she starts laying she will only leave the hive if they swarm. If they don’t swarm she will never leave the hive again.BK35_450 BK36_450


BK37_300Each frame should contain worker brood of the same age. EG all eggs,  Larva or capped.Worker brood should be grouped together slightly domed and cells full of pollen close by.Drone brood are scattered about and more domed BK38_300BK39_300Left is a worker honey  bee
Middle the Queen
Right the Drone
BK40_300A Queen cell is much larger  and built out from the brood or on the bottom of the frame.
There could be 20 or more at one time
Remove all to prevent the bees  swarming, or kill the old Queen and leave alone.
The first Queen to hatch will kill all the others


BK41_450  BK42_450The Queen Larva  is fed with Royal Jelly this is made by the worker bees in their Mandibular Glands.The Worker and Drone Larva are fed on Hypo-pharyngeal gland secretions , honey and pollen.


image48_450Honey has now been capped in the frames by the bees and is ready
Use a electric capping knife or a bread knife dipped in boiling water to cut the caps offimage49_450 Electric Honey Spinner
image50_450Place the frames in the spinner as you can see in the picture.Tthis one will take up to 24 frames make, sure they are evenly space if less than 24


image52_290 A settling tank image53_290Inside of settling tankimage54_290
Muslin place inside to strain the honey
Honey – all ready for labels