Thursday, 12 July 2012

Bees at Tŷ Hyll – a queen’s love nest

The Ugly House is no longer an office but don’t call it a café! After much thought it was called ‘Ugly House Tearoom’ with its Welsh name ‘Pot Mêl Tŷ Hyll’ conveying its beekeeping credentials. Upstairs above the cake-filled tearoom is an interpretation centre explaining as much as you would want to know about bees in a way likely to hold the attention of both young and old.  

Margaret Thomas and Pete Barrar with hive on hive carrier
Outside there has been a lot of volunteer effort to make the gardens and woodland friendly not only to people but to wildlife and bees in particular.

During my visit the first hive was delivered by Pete Barrar, from the National Beekeeping Centre, to the top of the woodland. The intention at Tŷ Hyll is to specialise on creating a reliable source of native queens.  

Currently it is difficult to source native queens which can lead to beekeepers buying queens (delivered by post!) from countries such as Slovenia, Mexico or South Africa. These bees have not had 30 million years to adapt to our local conditions and are more prone to disease thereby threatening the well-being of beekeeping in Wales.

So virgin queens will be created down the road at Furnace Farm (Bodnant Welsh Food) and brought here to mix and mate with thoroughbred drones safely tucked away in a valley unlikely to be visited by any foreign bees. A secluded love nest for the queens.

1 comment:

  1. My name is Liz and I’m contacting you from Silver River Productions, a TV company based in London. We are currently in production for a BBC2 primetime gardening show ‘The Big Allotment Challenge.’

    The series follows a handful of talented amateur kitchen gardeners as they transform a plot of earth in our walled garden into a patch of beauty and reveal all the wonderful possibilities that can be unlocked from allotment growing.

    We are looking for contestants to feature in the series, those who have the skill and dedication and who could dig their way to victory and be crowned the winner of ‘The Big Allotment Challenge.’ People who can cultivate the perfect carrot, make their green tomatoes into tasty chutney and turn their dahlias and sweet peas into floral arrangements.

    So whether you’re an allotmenteer, a city living window box grower, or a gardening enthusiast, we want to hear from you. We are coming to the end of our application process so email for an application form today!