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Broadway Manor Cottages – Cotswold self-catering holiday cottages




A Swarm in June is Worth a Silver Spoon – Beekeeping in the Cotswolds

June 6th, 2010

At Broadway Manor Cottages in the Cotswolds we encourage wildlife and wild and native flowers in our grounds, avoiding the use of  insecticides and pesticides, so a few weeks ago when Help Save Bees appealed on Twitter for favourable locations, such as orchards, for beekeepers to keep honey bees, we replied to see whether we could help. 

British bees are dwindling at an alarming rate and their extinction would have a disastrous effect on our flora and fauna. Help Save Bees was set up by Damian Grounds to raise awareness of the plight of British bees and highlight ways in which their survival can be protected by providing suitable and sustainable habitats for honey, bumble or solitary bees. Within a few days of our ‘tweet’ we were contacted by a local friendly beekeeper to see whether our grounds would be a suitable location for one or more beehives.

Our guests are invited to enjoy the grounds surrounding their holiday cottage during their stay, including our orchard of pear, apple, cherry, greengage, plum and damson trees, which all bear beautiful fragrant blossom ideal for pollen collecting honey bees. Siting one or more beehives in the orchard would be ideal, but the more isolated spot in the middle of our adjacent field is a better option leaving the bees alone and away from any disturbance.

The field is on the edge of Broadway in close proximity to a number of gardens with no great expanses of wheat or oilseed rape nearby which will hopefully mean that the bees will produce a fragrant polyfloral honey. But before a beehive can be sited we need some honey bees!

The beekeeper, who will be tending the hives and looking after the bees, placed a swarm box on top of one of our sheds. The wooden box contained a small piece of honeycomb and a pheromone attractive to bees. Within a few days some scout bees took up residence and we were hopeful that a swarm would follow. Sure enough early one evening a swarming cloud of honey bees descended on the garden but the bees did not make the box their home, they headed for a branch of a nearby Leylandii tree!

The following morning to coax the swarm out of the tree, a rope skep was placed on the ground nearby.  The beekeeper then cut off the branch that the swarm was hanging from and covered it with the skep. By that evening, all of the bees had moved from the tree to the skep and he packed it up and took it away to transfer the swarm to an apiary to check them for disease before introducing them to a hive in our field, maybe with a newly introduced queen that he has been breeding.

It seems we have been very lucky in June: the following day a much larger swarm of honey bees moved into the swarm box. This has now been collected and we hope the swarm will populate a further hive.

Spring flowers in the Cotswolds

May 26th, 2010

Cotswolds, uploaded by Broadway Manor Cottages.

We have been delighted to see the sunshine at Broadway Manor Cottages this week. The arrival of warmer temperatures has led to a stunning display of beautiful large flower blooms in the grounds.