Skip to content
The beekeeping team of four - dressed in beekeeping gear - check the hives.
The beekeeping team open Hive 1.

As the weather warms up, Derwen beekeepers have been checking up on our three hives of bees; making sure our colonies are safe, clean, happy and well-fed.

Student beekeepers Sophie Dempsey and Thomas Walpole, along with staff beekeepers Garden Centre Supervisor Will Lyon and MIS Manager Trevor Sharples, opened up the hives to observe whether the bees were doing well.

Kitted out in beekeeping suits and hats, kindly provided by beekeeping clothing and accessories provider BJ Sherriff,  the Beekeeping Club team cleaned up the hives, and took out the blocks of fondant icing which had been feeding the Derwen bees through the winter. With near-by fields of rapeseed in full flower, as well as fruit tree blossom in the College orchard, there is plenty of nectar and pollen for the bees to enjoy in the great outdoors.

Keeping the hives clean and tidy, and inspecting every week to check for queen cells, is a vital part of maintaining the colonies. As is ‘supering’ – a ‘super’ is a box placed on top of the hive to collect honey.

Though they don’t hibernate, honey bees rarely leave the hive during winter. They cluster together, preserving energy and keeping warm. They start making honey again when the weather improves around April time, or when the temperatures reach around 16 degrees or above.

The team are looking ahead to splitting the colonies to create more colonies over the coming months.

Bee club

Students Sophie and Thomas have embraced Bee Club, and will be creating video diaries of their journey into beekeeping. They are being joined by Horticulture student Kian Davies soon.

Student Sophie in full bee suit holds up a frame covered in bees and honey.
Sophie checks out the bees.

Derwen College will be selling Derwen honey and beeswax in The Garden Centre and Gift Shop. The shop already has a long waiting list of eager customers.

Derwen College first acquired hives last spring, in a partnership with WoodMor Foundation, to develop a beekeeping programme which provides work opportunities for students with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Horticulture team cleared an area which students named ‘McGregor’s Garden’. Three hives and a beekeeping shed were set up for the College’s new European honey bees.

The College is in the process of setting up BeeTV to follow the antics of the drones, workers and queens. A camera will be following the bees’ activities 24 hours a day. You’ll be able to watch our busy little pollinators from the live link on our website.

Back to News