A short video showcasing Manchester Cathedral Bees by Adam York Gregory Manchester Cathedral Bees from Adam York Gregory on Vimeo. Bee Hive Cameras We currently have two bee hive cameras upon the flat roof of Manchester Cathedral, click on the play button below to view the bees and their hives. Heavenly Honey produced by our […]Read More
Sir David Richards has become a patron of Volition Community following a visit last year to see the work of this charity. Welcoming Sir David, the Dean of Manchester thanked Sir David for his commitment to this programme which runs from Manchester and Liverpool Cathedrals. Sir David, encouraged at the outcomes of this programme of […]Read More
What a difference a year makes! As I wander through the silence of the Cathedral, making my way to the spiral staircase that will take me to the roof, I am reminded that only a year ago we were celebrating Manchester City’s Premier League title win. The Cathedral was bustling with people and equipment the […]Read More
2020 got off to a flying start, the Volition Volunteers cleaned and repaired all the beekeeping kit, we also made up the extra kit we would need to start the season.
All bee suits were washed and repaired, and the beekeeping room made ready for the coming season. The weather was unseasonable good and we were seeing fly bees on our quick checks on the roof.
Covid 19 then struck and we had lockdown, things changed rapidly, and the beekeeping changed dramatically. We removed the winter kit and got the bees and hives ready for a period of going it alone whilst we waited on instructions from the Cathedral on when we would be allowed access.
We gave the bees lots of space to delay the swarming instinct. We took the bottom super and feeders off each hive, cleaned the floor then put the brood box back with a queen excluder on top of the brood box and the bottom super back on top.
We then put a couple of sheets of newspaper with tiny holes punched in it to cover the super and added a couple of wet supers (extracted last year from the stack in the beekeeping room) added a crown board and roof.
The idea is that they would have enough room as the bees would move the stores from the brood box to the first super also bringing in nectar and storing in the super giving the queen lots of space to lay brood in the brood box. Postponing the urge to swarm. Once they run out of room in the first super they will eat through the newspaper and access the other two supers (in the same way they would in a merge). Putting the newspaper between the supers would keep the space they need to heat smaller until they are ready to expand.
We brought 6 colonies through the winter, with 4 surviving into the spring. We have built these colonies back up to 6 and are waiting to split the remaining 2 hives so the final total for 2020 is expect be 8 colonies.
Weekly inspections are still take place usually mid-week. We have the roof and hive camera back in working order.
We are using social media to keep in touch with our volunteers and the rest of the world. We are tweeting from the roof that inspections are taking place and using the hive camera to show the inspection live via our website. No audio but the camera is showing the hive, the bees and the frames as we lift them from the hives.
We have written and circulated 3 newsletters to keep in touch and keep everyone up to date with the project. We are writing some new content for the beekeeping page of the website and working with new ideas to get volunteers back to the beekeeping opportunity.
Volition at Salford Cathedral
Salford Cathedral was hit hard with the poisoning of last year leaving us with 2 colonies coming through the winter we are now up to 3 colonies with another on the way. Whilst splitting the colonies at Manchester we made a small nucleus colony that has now grown enough to be transported to a hive at Salford so we will be back to four colonies in 2020.
The apiary garden was getting overgrown as the gardeners don’t go in the apiary. We are cutting it back and getting storage boxes for the spare kit down there. Salford Cathedral will be supplying the funding for these boxes and the beekeeper will sort the cutting back of the apiary garden. Beekeeping newslettesr are circulated to Salford Cathedral also.
The bees at both sites are putting away nectar so we are very hopeful of a honey harvest again this year. It hard to estimate the quantity so early in the season, we will have a better idea in a couple of months.
Expected beekeeping expenses this year should be limited to winter feed for the bees, extractor hire, jars and labels.