Our New Rooftop Planting Guide

Our New Rooftop Planting Guide


Just in time for Spring, we’ve posted our new guide to Bee-Friendly Rooftop Planting. You can download it here. 

The guide’s been expertly researched and written for us by London-based garden designer Jane Finlay. Jane trained at Kew and was recently a finalist in the Society of Garden Design Student Award.  Massive thanks to Jane for her inspiring urban forage suggestions. You can find out more about her distinctive approach to garden design at janefinlay.london.

Getting It Right

Bailey Comb Change Demo For A Weak Colony
Demo Of Bailey Comb Change  For A Weak Colony – With David Clague and Alla Neal

I have a maxim, gained from my observation of the way the world works: “There may not be one single way to get it right. But there are lots of ways of getting it wrong.” It has served me well over the years.

Continue reading “Getting It Right”



With the temperature relentlessly around zero, the word “scorching” is clearly unrelated to today’s weather forecast.

Well, it is and it isn’t. This frosty time of year is ideal for a belt and braces cleansing of empty beehives. This can be accomplished by immersing the hive parts in a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution, or for smaller scale beekeepers, by using a blow-torch to singe the interior crevices and wide surfaces of brood and super boxes. That’s where the scorching comes in. Here I am, spring-cleaning a hive which I have just started to manage.

Continue reading “Scorching”

Rhubarb, Rhubarb

Varroa - Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright
Varroa Mites On A Bee – Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright

Beekeepers are getting hot under the collar about an academic study which compares the different methods of applying oxalic acid (derived from rhubarb leaves) to a hive to combat the pernicious varroa mite. Oh yes. Continue reading “Rhubarb, Rhubarb”

Two Talks

Beekeeping Talks
Beekeeping Talks

In the last week of November, with the bees all safely tucked up for winter, I had two speaking engagements. One was in rural Suffolk and the other in gritty Hackney. Each addressed a very different topic. The first was to an audience of fellow beekeepers, the second to a bevy of young food and drink entrepreneurs. The theme of the initial talk was a genteel one: “Preparing Honey For Show”, while the next was the fire-branding: “Bees Can’t Eat Kind Words”.

Continue reading “Two Talks”

Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap
Bubble Wrap

The competition for bubble-wrap becomes intense in our household at this time of year. And it’s not just Sarah’s extraordinarily gregarious Christmas present list which drives the local demand for that commodity.

I have a beekeeping confession to make. It is strange, but true. I wrap my Bermondsey rooftop hives with bubble-wrap in December and January each year. There, I’ve said it.

Continue reading “Bubble Wrap”