The RBG officers decided in 2013 that they would like to set up a static group apiary. After considering potential locations, the Lost Gardens of Heligan were approached about setting up an apiary on their land. With a good working relationship already having been established with the Heligan management, they were very receptive to this idea.
The apiary now serves as an excellent opportunity for new and aspiring beekeepers to get some practical, hands-on experience, as well as a fantastic teaching tool for our most capable members to impart their knowledge and skills via observed inspections and demonstrations.
This page serves as a diary to record updates and goings on at the apiary, written by the apiary manager, Simon Kellam. Scroll down the page for the latest 2018 updates.
Lost Gardens of Heligan Tree Hive
Date: 6th April 2018
The finishing touches to our new Tree Hive in our apiary at Heligan Gardens were completed today and it is now ‘open for business.
The idea is that a natural swarm will find its way into it, hopefully from one of our existing colonies. I am probably one of the few that actually want bees to swarm!! Although its good for the health of a colony it will hopefully also lead to a populated tree hive.
The Monterey Pine log was felled from nearby in the Heligan estate in February. We started work in earnest on the 26th Feb on a bitterly cold winter's morning. Some eleven members turned up to help and give moral support, which was a great turnout.
After the initial chainsaw work it soon became apparent that the chipping away of the cavity with more ‘traditional tools’ was not as easy as one might think. Patience needed! A second session that week saw good progress made. Up-righting the log into position also proved difficult but with the help of some of the Heligan staff and a winch this hurdle was soon overcome.
The auxiliary pieces to makeup the Tree Hive ie. roof, door, observation window, etc, I had the luxury of preparing beforehand in the comfort of my workshop at home.
Today we primed the cavity with some old brood comb, painted the cavity walls with melted honey/wax, sealed any gaps and put some spales in to support any new comb. Now it is fingers crossed. If a swarm doesn’t find it then plan B will be to put one in it, but I hope that isn’t necessary.
Again many thanks to all the helpers that have turned up throughout the project. It’s been a great group effort.