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British National Beehives


Based in a small workshop in Tideswell in the Peak District we make Highest Quality British National Beehives out of 1st grade American Western Red Cedar or High Quality Red Deal according to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Modified National Hive Plans. Everything we sell we make here in the Peak District. We also stock other items of Beekeeping Supplies including Frames, Foundation Wax and Hive Tools. The driving forces behind peak-hives.co.uk are sustainability and quality workmanship. Sustainability because, well it matters quite a bit we think and quality workmanship because customer satisfaction is paramount.



Cedar Scarcity.

Unfortunately building materials are extremely scarce at the moment and pricing is highly volatile. This goes for Western Red Cedar too. I have decided that until the market settles down I will not be making up any Cedar hives or hive parts. We'll be back in operation once the supply issues have been resolved. Many thanks.

webcam...

Want to see your National Hive being made? Here's what's going on in the workshop right now. The image is updated every 10 minutes during working hours. Click to see full size...

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blog...

The rest of the centre column is an ongoing blog of what's new at peak-hives.co.uk and other items of interest...veg garden...renewables etc, but please don't let reading about the allotment distract you from placing your order...:-)




Peak Hives Fondant Cosy

Requested by our long standing customer Johan I have just made up a batch of 10 of these ‘Fondant Cosies’. The outer ring is filled with 75mm Kingspan and the centre feed area is designed to take 2.5KG packs of either Fondabee or Ambrosia Fondant. The fondant is laid on top of the super/brood frames and is then covered with a lid filled with 25mm Kingspan. The lid sits on rails that are 50mm up from the base so there’s enough space above the fondant packs for the bees to roam around over the top of the fondant.

Peak Hives Fondant Cosy
Fondant Cosy
Fondant Cosy Kingspan
Kingspan Filling

Tested them with 2.5Kg packs of Fondabee and Ambrosia. I’ve just added them to the Peak Hives product range and they can be found in the left hand column.

Winner

We have had a fantastic response to the Photo Competition 2019 ‘Pollinators’. Unsurprisingly many of them featured honey bees but there were plenty of unsung heroes submitted including bumbles, butterflies, hover flies and moths. The overall winner though had to be this fantastic macro shot of apis mellifera mellifera. Just a stunning shot!

Click to see the full size picture…

Apis Mellifera Mellifera
Winner 2019 Photo Competition

A Peak Hives 6 Frame Plus Dummy Board Cedar National Nucleus Hive will be manufactured in the workshop and sent out to the winner.

I’ll add a gallery of other entries as soon as I can. Many, many thanks to all who took part.

Photo Competition 2019

To mark the launch of our Pollinator Plants we’re once again holding a photography competition.  This time the only requirement is that your shot features pollinators or something related to pollinators.  So bees, butterflies, moths all count as would an interesting hive design or location or a bank of lavender swamped with bumble bees…anything pollinator related.

First prize is one of our Cedar 6 Frame Nucleus Hives with a Varroa Floor.

Copyright of the photograph will reside with the photographer with license to use being given to Peak Hives.

Cheers and please email all entries to nicholas@localhost marking the email Photo Comp 2019.

Closing Date will be 1st of November.

Happy Snapping and have a great beekeeping season.

Nick

Queen Castle

A long standing customer wanted me to undertake this ‘special’ and make him a Queen Castle. It’s basically 4 x 2 frame Nucleus Colonies under a single roof. Each side of the Queen Castle has a unique entrance for one of the colonies. There is enough room in each compartment for two Hoffman Brood Frames and a Dummy Board for manipulation. Hope it works well for H. our loyal customer.

Queen Castle

Queen Castle

Inside Queen Castle

Inside Queen Castle

Queen Castle Inner

Queen Castle Inner

Here’s also a quick shot of the polytunnel. The Veronica Spicata ‘Heidekind’ is in the foreground and the Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Leadwort) just behind it and the Rudbekia fulgida var. deamii just visible.

Pollinator Plants in Polytunnel

Pollinator Plants in Polytunnel

Meanwhile in the Misting House we have the heated misting bench full of Pollinator Plants looking to go to their new owners. We’re overwintering some plants that have already been sold and will send out to our clients as soon as the weather picks up in the new year. Can’t wait for Spring 2019.

Bee Plants on Misting Bench

Bee Plants on Misting Bench

Apart from the ‘specials’ and polytunnel business we’re busy as usual making the mainstay of the business which is high quality hand made Cedar National Hives. A note here on quality. We only use first grade Canadian Western Red Cedar and don’t use cheaper lower quality cedar which we are aware is available and have been offered. As a business we have opted to keep our quality of materials and workmanship to a high standard on our National Hives.

Peak Hives Pollinator Plants

Marrying our love of beekeeping all things bees and an equal love of gardening Peak Hives are proud to announce that we will be establishing a new line in Pollinator Plants. As with our hand built Cedar National Hives made in our workshop from start to finish our Pollinator Plants will be propagated and grown on in our own Propagation House and Polytunnel here in Tideswell.

There’s such enjoyment to be had in watching a mass of bumble and honey bees working a plant they love.

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender Hidcote

As a first offering we will be raising both 1 ltr and 2 ltr pots. Orders can be placed from now on for delivery in 2019 and the best plants will be selected as orders come in. These are plants that we have already propagated this Summer/Autumn and will overwinter ready for dispatch in the Spring. It’s early days but we already have over a thousand plants in pots in the polytunnel.

The initial list of plants includes… (flowering season in brackets)

Achillea ‘King Alfred’ (Summer)

Lavender ‘Hidcote’ (Summer)

Lavender ‘Rosea’ (Summer)

Lavender ‘Devon Compact White’ (Summer)

Potentilla ‘Golden Starlit’ (Summer)

Potentilla ‘Scarlet Starlit’ (Summer)

Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountains’ (Spring)

Veronica spicata ‘Heidekind’ (Summer)

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ (Autumn)

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Autumn)

Sage officinalis ‘Icterina (Gold)’ (Autumn)

Euphorbia ‘Baby Charm’ (Spring)

Helleborus orientalis hybrid ‘Pink Lady’ (Spring)

Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii (Summer)

We’ve also added a couple of Plant Breeders Rights varieties as they are such good plants for bees and pollinators. We won’t be able to propagate these until we establish a relationship with the breeder in question (already in hand).

Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ (P) (Spring)

Iberis ‘Masterpiece’ (P) (Spring)

Watch out for Peak Hives Pollinator Plants on offer soon…

Helen’s Bees

Click the link below for details on Helen’s Bees for the 2018 season.

 

Bees for Sale – 2018

2017 Nucleus Colonies and Courses

Helen our bee breeder has just sent me some updates regarding her super nucleus colonies for the upcoming season and also the courses she runs for new beekeepers.

Click the links below for further information…

Bees for Sale – 2017

Keeping Honey Bees – Course info

As for Peak Hives we’re busy making our Cedar National Hives and the occasional special request and looking forward to a few days off between Christmas and New Year.

Seasons Greetings to all.

 

Peak Hives on the Radio

Melvyn Bragg is currently presenting a radio programme on the history of t’ North…

Our National Hives are the ones Melvyn talks to Adrian about at the start of the Programme.   It was only after completing the hives for the project that I found that the worker bee was the symbol of Manchester.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07synwj

We’re still very busy in the workshop but have afforded ourselves a few days off during the summer and would like to thank our customers for their patience.

An item that will soon be added to the Peak Hives product line is the Top Bar Hive.  They are proving very popular and despite them not being National Hives we will happily add them to the Peak Hives family.

Peach Blossom

Not directly bee related I know but I do like to put a thing or two about our allotment and polytunnel in the blog every now and then. Peach trees blossom very early in the year even before they get leaves and before bees and other pollinating insects are around. So, a tickle with a sable paint brush around all the flowers is the way to spread the pollen and hopefully get a good crop. This is the second year for our peach trees in the polytunnel and they are doing superbly. Last year even though they were only planted the Autumn/Winter before they produced several of the most juicy and surprisingly large and tasty fruit. This year the trees are covered in blossom so it looks like we might be in for a bumper crop.

Peach Blossom

Peach Blossom

We’re very busy as usual at this time of year and have sent many Cedar National Hives out to customers. It’s very gratifying to see so many repeat customers. We’ve also sent several of our hives to Europe. Last week a Peak Hives Top Bar Hive found it’s way to the Mosel Region of Germany.  Our 6 Frame plus a Dummy Board Nucleus Hives are also selling well…must remember to put up the prices…;-)

Bees For Sale

Our bee breeder Helen has been in touch with me to say she is back making up Nucleus Colonies after moving house.

Please see the attached Flier she sent us…

Peak Hives – bees for sale

She’s also running some Beekeeping Courses.

Beekeeping Courses

Getting Ready for 2016

These two Peak Hives products are just about to be dispatched to our customers who are getting ready for the 2016 beekeeping season.  Thanks to them for ordering during the quieter part of the season!  They are a full sized National Hive in Western Red Cedar with a 14×12 Brood Chamber and one of our popular 6 frame National Nucleus Hives along with a Nucleus Hive Super also in Cedar.  The customer for the Nucleus Hive already had one from us in 2015 and ordered another because he said it had been very useful for queen rearing in his first beekeeping season.

2016 Season Hives

2016 Season Hives

On another note…listening to Inside Science the other day I noticed an interesting piece of work on identifying the curative properties of honey.

Quote from BBC…

“Bees and antimicrobial drugs
The antibacterial properties of honey have been exploited for thousands of years, but now scientists at the University of Cardiff are using honeybees to collect and identify plant-derived drugs which could be used to treat antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens. By screening honey for these plant compounds and identifying the plant through the pollen grains in the honey, researchers can narrow down the active ingredients and even exploit this to get bees to make medicinal honey.”

An interesting part of the report stated that all plantlife in Wales had been DNA fingerprinted so pollen collected from the bees pollen sacs could be DNA matched to the plant it came from…

No doubt that debate will go on but it does lean towards there being something of substance to the Manuka Honey/Hay Fever argument.

 

Swarm

Got a call today from one of the local Youth Hostels.  They have a healthy colony that for some years has resided in a roof and it had swarmed.  Nick, the manager, called and asked if I could capture the swarm as he was concerned about the youngsters in the hostel.

As quick as I could I got together all the requisite National Hive items and donned my bee suit and headed down there.  Lovely swarm of bees hanging in a tree bough at chest height that was easily pulled down into the hive and snipped off with secateurs.  New colony for our apiary!!!  Tomorrow I’ll be off down to the apiary to put a feeder on and open up the entrance.  With a bit of luck and sugar they’ll build up for the winter and won’t be ‘chasers’.  Last swarm we had were chasing me out of the veg garden.

France hols (2 weeks) beckons and after a busy season we’re all ready for a break.

Nucleus Colonies Available

Our bee breeder Helen has some strong nucleus colonies available for pick up over the next couple of weeks.  You can email me at nicholas@localhost and I’ll pass on details or visit her new website at Helen’s Living Garden.   The nucs are Buckfast x Caucasian bees on at least 6 frames with all stages of brood with stores and a marked home bred queen. All in accordance with FERA recommendations for nuclei sales.  Each nucleus will have been treated against varroa prior to collection.

Peak Hives Nucleus Colonies

For the upcoming 2012 season Peak Hives has joined forces with a local bee breeder and will be supplying Nucleus Colonies of bees.  We still have to cross some ‘t’s and dot some ‘i’s but if you’re interested in a ‘nuc’ then please email.  Our bee breeder is very experienced and has invested recently in some Buckfast Queens to breed from for the next season.  More on this soon…

An inspector calls…

Regional FERA Bee Inspector Tim Roper called round under the FERA free inspection offer (you need to register with Beebase in order to qualify for a free inspection and it’s definitely worth it.  My opinion is that it in these times registration should be obligatory.  Anyway, after looking at Peak Hives 2 colonies he pronounced them in good health.  There was some evidence of chalk brood but not enough to cause too much concern.

The bees are now filling up the new super with drawn comb and there’s the ‘old socks’ smell of Dandelion honey.  Tim says it’s quite nice to eat though.

Fera Bee Inspector Tim Roper Inspecting Peak Hives Apiary

Fera Inspecting Peak Hives Apiary

Peak Hives Apiary!

The idea of turning the joinery workshop into a National Hives business originally arose out of my own desire to start beekeeping and a few months ago I was lucky enough to meet Richard H who offered a couple of colonies in exchange for equipment.  Last week I travelled down (in the new Peak Hives livery) and picked up two hives bursting to the seams with British Black Bees.  After a very nervous journey up the M1 I made it back to Tideswell and with some effort in the dark managed to get the hives in place.  I was concerned that it might have been early in the year to bring colonies up here to the cold Peak but the bees were ready so delay was out of the question.

Yesterday I had a window of opportunity to do a first inspection and super the colonies.

First Bee Inspection

First Bee Inspection

So far, to my untrained eye, everything looks good.  Now to see if the combination of the often inclement (to say the least) Peak District weather and my inexperience as a beekeeper will not result in disaster.  I will do my very best.  Fortunately I’m with Chesterfield BKA who are known to be very supportive and also have a couple of aquaintances who are experienced beekeepers who might be able to lend a hand.