Norfolk Honey - Bees

Honey bees

Honeybees in Norfolk

Keeping honeybees in the UK in the 21st century has become vital for the continued survival of the species here. When I first started bee keeping our bees did not have to suffer the parasitic Varroa mite vectoring viruses throughout the colony. The arrival of the mite in the UK has radically changed our beekeeping. The challenge for us beekeepers now is keeping up the number of bees we have in our hives whilst trying to reduce the number of mites living on the colony. So far we don't have a way of removing the mites entirely from a colony.

The number of honeybees colonies living 'in the wild' has been severly depleted. Although we still hear that 'there have been bees living in that chimney for years' the number of feral colonies out in the wild now is a mere fraction of what it was. And we fear that those that are there are recent replacements of those that were there originally.

I have seen the decline in the number of calls I now get - or should I say don't get - for swarm collections in the spring each year. Unmanaged feral colonies would in the past build up their numbers and then swarm. They may not have swarmed every year but when they did swarm they would often produce several swarms one after the next. These swarms would in turn get collected and kept by beekeepers and often provide a start for a 'beginner'.

As the quality of each swarm was unknown the were not highly prized by beekeepers and their value was low. Beginners would often be given a swarm for free or for the cost of a pint.

But not anymore.

To get started in beekeeper now almost certainly means that you will need to buy your bees from a beekeeper or bee breeder. If you are looking to get started in beekeeping then finding your bees will be one of your first tasks.

I have honey bees for sale at all times during the year. My bees are Norfolk Mongrels born a bred in my apiaries around Norwich.

Complete colonies of bees
I offer complete colonies of bees for sale at most times of the year. Complete colonies of bees are especially easy to move in the Winter and early Spring.

Buying a complete colony of bees in the Spring gives you the advantage of getting an early start - especially if you start feeding your bees soon after buying them. Building up a large thriving colony early in the season gives you the option of maximizing the amount of honey your bees will make or the queens you can produce. Large colonies make more honey and are vital if you wish to increase your stock of bees by splitting and queen rearing.

More about Norfolk Mongrel bees

Norfolk Mongrels are bees that are bred in the open in Norfolk. I select my best queens from each successive year to breed from. These are queens that have headed up colonies of bees that are good to work with and build up successful colonies of bees that do make honey. My queens are mated in the wild so I have no control over the drones the virgins queens mate with. Norfolk Mongrels are what many Norfolk beekeepers keep. By selecting the best queens to breed from each year, we all plan to continually improve on our stock. However, some Norfolk beekeepers do import queens from other parts of the UK and the continent. As the drones from imported queens are available to mate in uncontrolled conditions then the genetic mix of our Norfolk Mongrel Bees is subtly changing as each year goes by.
 It follows that Norfolk Mongrels from one Norfolk bee keeper will not be exactly same as Norfolk Mongrels from another Norfolk beekeeper. Generally we take the female line as our guide to the strain of bee. There is a colour difference between strains. The more golden the bees the more Italian blood they are likely to have. If they are gray bees then the stock may originally be from a bought in Carniolan queen. Many of the UK's stock of bees come from Brother Adam's Buckfast strain. But whatever the mother, once she has mated in the wild the resulting bees can all be best described as Mongrels.

Bees for sale - Selected Norfolk Mongrels
You can buy Norfolk Mongrel bees from me in April, May, June, July, August, September and October and even in the winter. My prices change from year to year so please email me for my current price if it is not stated. I select my breeding queens choosing those with the best temperament.

Bees in second hand hives
I have bees in second hand hives for sale -- click here to read more

My bees are generally on Standard British National frames. Although I do have some deep 14x12 boxes, a couple of commercials and can set up Langstroth nucs (to order)

Queen bees for sale
I am not a queen breeder in a controlled sense, so I don't generally sell new mated queen's on their own. However, I do sometimes have some old queens available for sale -- click here to read more and I do have contact with bee breeders who do offer queen bees for sale.

Please email me for further information.


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