Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 11:04 UK
Bee Part Of It! BBC Hereford & Worcester's Bee Buddy
Keren tends to one of the existing hives at Croome Court

BBC Hereford & Worcester has its own bee hive at Croome Park in Worcestershire - part of the BBC's Bee Part Of It! campaign.

It will be managed by Keren Green, a local beekeeper who already manages some of her own hives at National Trust Croome Park.

As our resident beekeeper, she will set up the hive, establish and look after the colony of bees.

We will be bringing you regular updates on how the bees are progressing.

Keren took up beekeeping six years ago, after looking for ways she could become more self-sufficient.

After taking a course of ten evening classes run by a local beekeeper she was hooked.

Keren then joined her local Bee Keeping Association, is now Secretary to that Association and manages nearly twenty hives of her own, selling her honey through local outlets.

In 2009, Keren successfully passed the British Beekeeping Association's Beekeeping Assessment.

Croome Park Hives

The bees for the new hive will arrive in a box

Keren already looks after hives at Croome Park - the BBC H&W hive will be the third in her care.

She says that, so far, she has been lucky enough to escape a catastrophic collapse in any of her hives, though she did lose a colony of bees due to this year's extremely cold and long winter.

When the bees arrive for the BBC H&W hive they will be delivered in a box which consists of worker bees, young bees, frames of brood i.e., sealed brood, eggs and, of course, the Queen, who will lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.

The new hive will not immediately begin producing enough honey to be harvested - this could take a month or so and is dependent on many outside factors such as the weather.

In June, July and August beekeepers take the honey off the hive.

Surviving winter

Honey comb
Visitors to Croome Court can buy the honey produced there

Bees always produce more honey than they need, but because beekeepers harvest the honey from the bees, Keren will give the bees a sugar solution in September to help them survive the winter.

The bees take this sugar syrup and pack it tightly into the brood chamber - at this time the colony numbers have dwindled from 50-60,000 in July to around 15,000 for the winter.

Through the winter the bees huddle together keeping the ambient temperature in the hive warm to survive.

If they need to feed, they do not have far to go because they store the syrup within reach.

The bees will also receive medication to keep the Varroa mite levels down.

Varroa is one of many threats to honeybees, and beekeeping is really just the same as farming, that is, managing a livestock that produces a food product.

So beekeepers provide bees with a dry, wind proof home; add more space when they need it; provide food when they need it and medication to keep them healthy.

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