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Author Topic: Hello from Lincolnshire UK  (Read 908 times)
RogerC
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« on: August 28, 2006, 07:01:04 AM »

Hi everyone,
Retired now (65 last July) I have decided to take up beekeeping (thought about it for years).  Like most retired people I am time rich money poor (not quite) and as I have a decent workshop have decided to make all my own kit.  I shall be making and using some form of single story long hive.  I rent an old farmhouse in the Lincolnshire Wolds (Lincs is NOT flat like people say) at an elevation of 450 ft above sea level.  I can see the sea from my garden about 5 miles away and if I walk down the field a little I can see the Humber Estuary (upwards of 30,000 ship movements a year according to the Humber Pilots who are responsible for the shipping lanes).  The house stands on its own and our nearest neighbours are just over a mile away. This is a single farmhouse and the village proper is just over 2 miles away.  This year we have been surrounded by 200 acres of borage flowers as well as the usual rape and beans on the farm next door. My landlord's farm next year will be wheat although I am sure there will be rape within two miles of the house.
This year, for the borage, the landlord managed to secure the services of 60 hives which didn't arrive until August 8th. The borage had been flowering since the beginning of July and was a grand sight for my birthday party in the garden on July 9th, especially as we have no fences between us and the fields.  The borage was cut on the 24th August and is now lying drying in the fields.  I am told it will be about 6 weeks before the crop is lifted and shaken for the seeds.  This, of course is ground to make Star Flower Oil which, when encapsulated, fetches a high price in the health food shops.  A beekeeping expert I met at Thornes reckons that to provide a proper pollination for borage there should be 2 hives per acre.  The farm manager tells me that proper pollination can increase the yield of borage seed by a minimum of 25%.  Sixty hives put out for less than half the time the crop was in flower sems like a bit of a waste to me.
No-one has been near the hives since they were put down and now the borage has been cut there is very little local forage for the bees.  The hives seem to be English Commercials (slightly bigger than a Langstroth) with one brood layer and one super apart from two hives only which have a second super.  I suspect that the colonies are sacrificial and will be left to either die or not as nature sees fit.
If they are left over winter I shall have a hive ready and pray for an early swarm next year!!
I am really getting excited about becoming a beekeeper and looking forward to next year.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2006, 04:05:29 PM »

Welcome to the forum.  There are some difference in proactices between the US and the UK such as the variation of the Langstroth hive and local regulations.  Seems that with a ittle effort you could take over the pollination requirements for you landlords crops.  A tiddy bit of pocket money, what.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
RogerC
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Location: LincolnshireUK


« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 03:27:15 AM »

As far as I know there is no tradition of beekeepers being paid in the UK, presumably because borage honey fetches a premium when sold.  I think this should change.  Watching the NBC video yesterday indicated that American beekeepers and their flocks are directly responsible for $13.5 billion (yes Billion) in revenue for farmers.
Borage seed fetches $2,700 a ton.  Bees can increase yields by a minimum of 25%.  Suppose my landlord gets 100 tons of seed from a hived up farm  This means that the bees are directly responsible for 20 tons (25% of 80 tons without bees).  20 tons at $2,700 a ton equals $54,000.  At 200 hives that equates to $270 per hive.  Even at half for the beekeeper and half for the farmer each hive-with-min-10-frames should be paid $140 rental.  As a potential beekeeper I would split it 66% beekeeper and 33% farmer as the beekeeper has all the work to do in looking after and transporting the hives.  This gives $180 per hive.  Not so different for the figure quoted as rental by the California almond growers for next year.
I think I see my future life's work growing before my eyes!!!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2006, 06:31:08 AM »

I wish you well.  Traditions get rusty and are hard to change but educating your fellow contrymen to the advantages of bees and gaining a little profit in the meantime seems a worth while cause.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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