In this extraordinary video, Southill Solar's beekeeper, Tom Worsley, takes us on a tour of the thermosolar beehive he installed on the site. (The thermosolar beehive is the first of its kind in the UK. It uses solar power to kill the parasitic Varroa mite.)
Up close and personal with the bees
Tom has filmed one of his regular visits to check the hive. He talks us through what he's doing as he methodically checks the health and behaviour of the bees, and shows how the hive is settling and starting to produce honey. It's an enthralling look inside a working colony of bees, and an insight into the beekeeper's world.
Here are just a couple of bee facts I learned:
- bees need water too - up to half the bees you see on the wing could be carrying water
- smoke (which Tom uses in the gentlest way) calms the bees because they assume that a fire is endangering the hive and immediately go to fill their bee bellies with honey, to take with them when they evacuate
- a sweet-smelling hive generally indicates a happy, healthy colony of bees
Southill's bees are thriving
Our bees are doing well - especially as they were a new, young colony. And Tom doesn't get stung once!
The bees in the news
Our bees are generating a bit of a buzz. That's mainly due to the exciting innovation of the thermosolar beehive. This is a step-change in the way that beekeepers can treat their bees against the Varroa mite – without using chemicals, pesticides or harming the bees.
Check out what BBC South had to say about our bees.