Dear Diary,

It’s nearly the end of the season with just the ivy left for the bees to forage on before winter arrives. I’ve been enjoying the ivy bushes buzzing with inset life as pollinators feast together.

I hope I’m not tempting fate by describing our HQ bees as ‘strong’, but they look as if they’re doing well and defending themselves against a load of interest from wasps! I’ve done all I can to help this month, I made the entrance smaller so they have less frontage to defend and also made wasp traps out of plastic bottles filed with beer to lure them in. I know… BUT they can kill off a hive if too many get in so I’ve sided with my bees and lured many a wasp to a beer-y end. Not all bad?!

It’s also been the month for treating for varroa, the parasitic mite that is the blight of many a colony. Every colony has varroa in it, just that it’s like a cold bug - if you’re healthy it won’t bring you down but if you’re already feeling low then a cold germ can really hit you. So my task is to keep the varroa level down so the colony can handle it and not get sick. The treatment most beekeepers use at this time of year is thymol based and it’s that smell that does for the varroa mites, but not for the bees. As bees are such clean creatures we put a thymol based gel in the hive which the bees get to work removing, and in the process move it all over the hive so that its vapours reach as many varroa mites as possible.

So that’s the bees; we’re doing our best to get them as strong as healthy as possible to get through winter.

As for Hive & Keeper, September has been the month we took the incredible designs that Yelena did for our honeys and gift sets and used them to make beautiful napkins: the start of HK’s Homeware range by our very own NewBee Designers!

If Hive & Keeper is anything it’s supportive; so extending our support from small scale beekeepers to young graduate designers feels natural, especially as beautiful design is such an important part of Hive & Keeper. We have enough love to share!!