About Poly Hive

This site now has some 300+ feeds and an average of 40+ visitors a day from over 20 countries reading over 400 pages per day. The numbers are rising steadily. 🙂

I want to first of all say that most of the material at present, on this site is from Dave Cushman’s original site.

My aim is to save it for the future and to polish it up as times move on and of course so does technology.

Things in beekeping change at a different speed, but change they do, and with the introduction of top bar beekeeping and the recent but rapid uptake of Poly Hives, I thought it a suitable time to move things on.

Over the years I have delved into Dave’s site countless times, posted links to it on forums too, in order to clarify for others the points I was trying to make and we the beekeeping community have benefited from the countless hours of work Dave gave to his site. I am only sorry I didn’t have the chance to get to know him better as he was not only I think a classic British eccentric, as in the very best of, but a beekeeping genius.

Where there are several variants of the same idea, for instance clearer boards I have reduced them to the more common ones. Dave had, I believe, the ambition to have on his site every variant known to man, I want what works well, a subtle but crucial difference. I am known for subscribing to the KISS principle, as in Keep It Simple Silly. 🙂

Who am I? Poly Hive of course… LOL

My name is Pete Watt and I began beekeeping in 1986 stimulated by a conversation with my then wife who told me a family story regarding honey that her mother was involved with. I was struck by the tale and began to read bee books and rapidly exhibited one of the worst cases of bee fever it is possible to have.

Three years later the retiring Bee Advisor of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture B. Mobus invited me to take over the Craibstone Beekeeping Unit on a commercial basis to try and keep the infrastructure intact in case the college had a change of heart.

I went from wintering some 8 hives to running full bore a mere 50. Oh and there were not enough supers… That operation grew to at times some 80 odd colonies and a membership of the Beefarmers Association

From there I went on with Moira my then wife to running evening classes for Grampian Region, and to writing for the Scottish Beekeeper, and the odd lecture.

After five years of insanity reality dawned and I built a honey house on my own property and we gave Craibstone back to the College and with no regrets gave up on 40 mile round trips, at times just to switch on the honey warmer.

I obtained the Scottish Beekeepers Association Expert certificate in 1995 something I am rather proud of. I was very lucky to be taken under the wing of Hamish Robertson of Struan Apiaries who was unstinting in his time and advice and of course his beloved wife Joan who was so very kind and helpful. Murray McGregor of Denrosa Apiaries also deserves a mention by way of thanks for a great deal of equally excellent advice and no doubt patience too.

Whilst thanking people I wish to say my heartfelt thanks to Julie the love of my life, and now my beloved wife, who has been so tolerant of the vanishing beekeeper and the rattling of the keyboard keys as posts are created and this site modified. Thank you darling. 🙂

While working offshore in the oil business for a living I was able to spend some time studying, and I discovered in the loft at Craibstone a large supply of American bee journals. I read my way through some 30 years worth of the American Bee Journal and Gleanings in Bee Culture. From that reading it rapidly became clear that beekeeping in the UK is more than a little different to the North Americas, not to mention the rest of the world.

I make no apology for the UK focus on this site, it is aimed and focused on British Beekeeping for British Beekeepers.

Beekeeping means many things to the various participants, and I again make no apology for concentrating on producing honey as in my view it is the primary reward of the craft. Followed closely by Queen Rearing.

My voice through out the site is in the same blue as here. Black is Dave’s.

Any errors are my fault, and if you find something dire please let me know.

Lastly I am very keen on Poly Hives and am enjoying the surge in their popularity in the UK, it’s taken over 20 years to get going but the ball is now rolling well and truly. It’s nice to be in from the wilderness at long last especially that the authorities have woken up to the need for an official sterilisation plan. Why am I keen on them? Simple, bees thrive in them better than in conventional ones. One major Bee Farmer reports from a sample of over 1000 that his poly does better by 15% in honey production. A thought to ponder.

Enjoy the site. 🙂

Pete