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Wilkin & Son Ltd  or better known as TIP-TREE JAM

A Gardeners’ Beehive in suburban Essex.


We bought the beehive at the National Flower Show in Chelmsford in May and Kevin installed it at the end of the month at the bottom of our garden near our neighbour’s fence.  The garden slopes down and faces almost due north.  The site looks much more rural than it is!  It is actually a typical suburban garden of a semi-detached house built in the 1920s.  There are shrubs behind the hive, and an old “family” apple tree to its right, and an old plum tree about five yards in front of the hive.  We planted them both when we moved in about 30 years ago. There are raspberry canes behind it, and the very bottom of the garden is hazel trees which belong to the council.  It is fairly shaded, although it gets quite a lot of sun early in the morning and later in the afternoon.


Kevin primed the mycelium with lure spray, and left us to it.  I didn’t put up a bait box or anything like that.  I sprayed the air in front of the hive every morning for a week, then we went on holiday for a week.  When we came back I put some spray in the hive, and carried on spraying the air every day.  Two weeks or so later, I went down to dump some grass cuttings and saw a bee hovering around the hive!  I did a bit more spraying, but kept wandering down the garden, and then there were a few more!  I started to get excited, and stopped spraying.  The bees were coming in and out of the hive, then flying up and over the house towards the canes and away from the house.  There were never more than a few, but there were always some.  I never saw a swarm, and haven’t had to coax them out of a bait box or anything like that, so don’t know for certain if there is anything going on, but Kevin advised me to look for yellow dust (pollen) on their legs, and if they were carrying that then I could be fairly sure there would be a lying queen.  They had the yellow pollen! 


So they are still busy.  Something looks like it has been going on. It is getting cold now, so I think I will have to stop up to of the bottom holes soon.  I will be taking advice on when.  And next year I hope to put some honey boxes on the side of the hive.  Maybe we will have some wild honey to share with our friends ….  And if not, there have some bees in our garden, finding a home for the summer.


Here are some pictures of the hive.  The first one shows where the hive is.  The second one is a picture of the bees on the hive about a month after it was put up.  The third one was taken in the middle of October. 

From Nigel B

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A few people who you might know that have Gardeners Beehives

River Cottage

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Some owners, and what they have to say :