Farewell to Vyvyan

Vyvyan Evans, LSE Sustainability Assistant extraordinarire, has been a wonderful friend to LSE Bees (seen here introducing a group of enthusiastic apiarists-in-training to our Connaught House hives) and we’re both sad and happy to see her head off for a fully-funded Masters degree at the University of East Anglia. She’s been a great source of knowledge (having her own hive at home) and we will definitely miss her bubbly and fun personality.

Vyvyan giving the bee lowdown to visitors in summer 2015

All the very best of luck Vyvyan – don’t be a stranger when you pop back down to London!


It’s getting hot in herrrrre

Can you believe it – the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK in July happened yesterday, a sweltering 36.7 degrees celsius. Phew!! We were certainly baking in the heat as we inspected our Connaught House hives, joined by a group of visitors from LSE’s Library and from the Information Management & Technology team.

Once all suited up, the visitors probably found it as hot as the bees. It was really interesting to see them fanning their wings on the hive landing boards:

Bees cooling down on the cedar hive landing board

Once it hits 35 degrees inside the hive bees tend to get too hot and try to cool themselves down by hanging out outside the hive. Luke explained that this is what’s called ‘bearding’. It means the colony is strong as the population is at maximum and honey production is in full swing. By being outside, the bees are basically helping to reduce the heat on the inside of the hive by allowing more air to circulate, and also to keep the honey at the correct temperature. What was also happening with our hives were some bees fanning their wings which helps to push cooler air back into the hive itself. Lots more info on bearding on this blog if you’re interested.


Our visitors getting the low-down on the basics of beekeeping


Three very happy hives!

So we’re now pretty confident we should have at least a bit of honey at the end of the season. Looking forward to it!

Want to be the Queen (or King) Bee?

Applications for the LSE SU Beekeeping Society President for 2015/16 are NOW OPEN.

Send your your name and manifesto to lsesu.beekeepingsociety [at] gmail.com by Friday the 12th of June.  The manifestos don’t have to be long (250 words max), and they should outline what you would hope to accomplish over the coming year as President, and why you might be suited to the role.  On the 15th of June we will send out a Doodle poll with the names of the candidates and their manifestos where society members can vote.  Voting will close on the 19th of June at 6pm.  We will announce the President via email on the 19th!

As President, you will be in charge of the whole society.  Some of your responsibilities include organising hive visits; liaising with the members of the LSE Sustainability Team and Luke Dixon (our professional beekeeper); and you will also be responsible for selling our inventory of honey at the end of the summer.  Ideally you would also be able to guide the society over the summer vacation, and you will also hold elections for Treasurer and Secretary in the Michaelmas term.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! When the voting comes around we also strongly encourage everyone to vote!

SS and AS 2

2015/16 Treasurer, Amelia Sharman, and President, Stan Shillington, in the LSE Director’s Office

Volunteer at the Bee Collective via Team London

As regular readers of this blog will know, our friends at the Bee Collective (where we process our honey) have some great volunteering opportunities available where you can learn all about honey, how it’s processed, and even get to try some different varieties at the end of the night.

Here are some photos from the last time LSE Bees went to the Bee Collective:


Watching the honey being spun out of the comb


Our golden honey!


Scraping the caps off the comb ready for processing

They’ve now made it even easier to get involved as ou can book a place at their Tuesday night volunteering sessions (6.30-8pm) online at the Team London website. It’s a lot of fun, you can go as a group of friends, or even as a creative and unusual date!

Spaces are limited to six people per session so make sure you register your interest early. At the moment you can try your hand at winter bee crafts, so things like building hives, cleaning beeswax or making seed bombs – sounds brilliant!

So get down there and get involved!

Spot the difference

Just a quick hive visit today as the temperature’s plummeted and we didn’t want to let too much cold air into the hive. But we put our beautiful painted hive in situ (facing vaguely in an easterly direction), improvised a rock pool so the bees could have something to drink and checked on the progress of the new plants (slow, but they’re getting there).

20150429_144342  20150429_144356 20150429_14435020150429_144405

What was quite interesting though was seeing the difference in pollen on the boards of the two hives which currently have bees in them. The cedar hive (top board) has a new queen and bee stock and is all go! The white hive (bottom board) has an old queen (soon to be replaced) and is much less active.

20150429_144509 20150429_144257

Check out the pollen from the cedar hive bees! They’re really getting into the swing of things. Soon we’ll have some new bees in the painted hive as well so it’ll be all go up on the roof.

So make sure you come and visit one time! We’d love to see you there.

London street art

While it hasn’t been seen on any of LSE’s walls (yet!) we’re loving these amazing murals painted by street artist Louis Masai Michel around London and the world.


They’re part of a series he painted last year called #SavetheBees which was inspired by a trip to South Africa where he learnt about the implications of colony collapse disorder. You can see more brilliant pictures on a post on another blog, Colossal, or on Michel’s website.


Maybe something for our next hive painting project!

Amazing photographs of LSE Bees by Martin Cervenansky

We had a special visit from photojournalist Martin Cervenansky last week who has a history of photographing bees in interesting places (check out these other great photos). He’s currently studying documentary photography at the University of the Arts London and is a photographer at the University’s Artefact Magazine.

He took some shots of our current president, Stan Shillington, as well as Laura Price putting the finishing touches on the newly painted hive.


(c) Martin Cervenansky


(c) Martin Cervenansky


(c) Martin Cervenansky


(c) Martin Cervenansky

We think these photos are brilliant! Love the stormy skies and interesting compositions. Check out his Facebook, Twitter or website for more.