The Chronicles of a Community Apiary
"World of Bees"
This page chronicles the development and construction of our association apiary located in an unused and peaceful part of the cemetery in Selby.
Along with the help from our partners, our own members are giving their time to help us make this come true and provide this feature as an attraction for our residents and visitors to the town alike.
15th November, 2019
Site Meeting with Town Council
Having secured funds from the National Lottery Community Fund earlier in 2019, this was a "Red Letter Day" for us as we meet up with our colleagues from Selby Town Council to mark out the corner boundaries of the apiary.
Plans have been submitted to Selby District Council for approval and we now have to wait until early in the New Year for their decision before we can proceed.
Fingers crossed for a good result!
25th June, 2020
Having successfully obtained planning permission from Selby District Council, our progress was seriously delayed by the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe.
After being in imposed lockdown for the early part of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were finally able to get back on course with the apiary.
Paul and I eventually marked out the perimeters and the Bee Free Zone in readiness for purchasing the building materials needed for our apiary project.
7th August, 2020
With suppliers struggling to get materials into their stock, we finally managed to place an order for the woodwork and hardware for the apiary. This would at least allow us to get to work on the Bee Free Zone and the perimeter posts whilst we're deciding on the best screening to use.
It was a blessing for us that the driver was able to use his crane to unload the materials directly over the fence and into the cemetery exactly where we needed them to be.
8th August, 2020
Fixing the Ground Stakes
We finally get started! Having previously marked out the perimeters of the apiary, it was a relatively easy work day with hammering home the post spikes into the ground to take the 3" x 3" perimeter posts - or so we thought! These things seem to have a mind of their own and trying to keep the posts parallel and true on all axis proved to be something of a challenge!
But - we went home happy knowing that we had got the posts into their correct position ready for the next work day.
10th August, 2020
Uprights and Ring Beam in position
A sweltering day predicted with temperatures in the mid 30's
As the Bee Free Zone is the most complex part of the apiary project, we decided to start work on the Bee Free Zone first as everything else would be fast and easy by comparison. With Paul and myself cutting the rebate joints we quickly got the tunnel posts and ring beams secured into position.
As the morning wore on and the suns heat got hotter, we were physically exhausted and had to terminate at at 2:00pm
13th August, 2020
Fixing the Roof Joists
A much better temperature for working in!
First task for me today was to mark and drill the metal posts to allow the lower kickboards to be fixed into position. This took a couple of hours to complete.
Meanwhile, Paul was busy fixing the roof supports in position. He'd previously cut these at home the previous day using his template to ensure they were all identical.
When all of the roof supports were fixed, it was time for home and a well deserved rest! There are two remaining supports to cut and fix into position that Paul may be doing tomorrow (14th) and with luck, we may start to add the roof panels at the weekend.
14th August, 2020
Finishing the Roof Joists
It was an easy day today for us as we just needed to fix in position the end roof trusses and the horizontal purlins. Having completed that job, the next task will be to get the roof boards fixed into position in readiness for the scalloped felting tiles we will be cutting out.
18th August, 2020
Fixing the Roof and Painting
Even though the weather forecast was for some rain, we'd decided to continue work on the apiary irrespective. And today, we were joined by Peter Ross, one of our Junior Beekeepers, and Paul Clark, one of our newest members.
There was plenty to be done and Peter pitched in with painting the perimeter posts while the rest of us got on with cutting and fixing the roofing boards into position.
As the drizzle came in, we'd already got the roof fixed into position so we were able to move Peter's painting job under cover of the Bee Free Zone. We finished the day by giving the exterior woodwork a protective coat of Garden paint.
19th August, 2020
Cutting the Scalloped Tiles
Sometimes, there are those days when you know that you've made some significant progress but there is actually little to show for it. Today was one of those days!
Whilst I finished off some painting in the BFZ, Paul was busy cutting out scalloped roof tiles using a template he had fabricated at home yesterday
As I took over cutting the tiles, Paul was able to start putting them up on the roof. They look a lot nicer than flat roof felt although it is taking us longer to do this. We hope to have all of the tiles in place sometime tomorrow
20th August, 2020
Tiling the Roof
Another day that was too hot to work in!
Spent most of the day cutting the scallops for the roof in the blazing sunshine whilst Paul was fixing them into position.
At least today, we managed to finish half of the roof and make a good start on the other half. The effort of cutting the tiles and fixing them up has been well worth it as even our occasional visitors comment on how nice the roof is looking.
Our apiary is certainly creating a lot of interest with cemetery visitors and some excellent feedback coming from them!
21st August, 2020
Finishing the Roof
A breezy day but better for working in!
Spent a couple of hours cutting the last of the scallops for the roof whilst Paul continued to fit them. I thought it was going to take us at least all day and was amazed to see the roof finished after about 3 hours. And there was hardly any waste whatsoever so well happy with the outcome.
Our next task is to get the perimeter posts into position and connected together.
26th August, 2020
Perimeter Post Positioning
Paul had previously taken delivery of a new consignment ground stakes for our 3"x3" posts and today we started to mark out their positions around the apiary perimeter.
Just one of them gave us a problem when we hit some solid about 1' down. It actually bent the metal spike! As this was to be one of the door frame posts for the rear door to the apiary, it was simply a matter of repositioning the location of the door posts.
27th August, 2020
Painting and Bracing ...
Joined today by Paul Clarke, we continued to get the kick boards coated with paint to give them some weather protection. This included re-painting the kick boards around the Bee Free Zone whilst Paul trimmed up and secured the perimeter posts.
The hard part for Paul was getting the tops of posts level and then adding the top and central bracing members.
We managed a good few hours work before some rain came in and stopped us. Painting in the rain isn't fun!
1st September, 2020
More Painting and Bracing ...
With favourable weather for a change, we batted on with the apiary to get as much done as we could.
I spent the day painting up the bracing members whilst Paul was working on connecting the front of the perimeter fence to the roof of the apiary.
As usual, we had a steady trickle of curious visitors and some who have been visiting us a couple of times a week to check on the progress. There's no doubt about it that what we are doing has created a lot of interest from the public and their comments have been inspirational to us.
2nd September, 2020
More Painting and Bracing ...
Both Paul and myself needed to attend to our bees today so we'd decided to meet at midday for a couple of hours work on the apiary.
We did manage a couple of hours (mainly painting) before one or two spits of rain landed and we decided to stop. The last time in rained, it washed the paint off the woodwork causing us to have to repaint
We're still getting lots of questions from visitors with some of our visitors being regulars!
3rd September, 2020
Gabel Ends and More Painting
Starting to come together now! Whilst I got stuck back into applying a 2nd coat to the perimeter, Paul set to work on the gable ends getting them and the sides of the porchway ready for fitting some feather boarding.
As we're expecting the perimeter screening to be delivered today, we're looking forward to putting this up so that our visitors can finally get an impression of how the apiary will look.
We were visited by some staff from STC today and they were impressed at how the apiary blends into it's environment.
4th September, 2020
Kickboards and More Painting
With fine weather for working in, Paul cracked on with fitting the kickboards to the perimeter whilst I spent yet another day painting up the kickboards and trying to keep in front of Paul.
The perimeter screening was supposed to have arrived yesterday but unfortunately has been delayed. We're hoping it will be with us by Monday as we will be ready to fit it into position by Tuesday next week - weather permitting of course!
Monday should see us have all of the kickboards in position so we can get on with some finishing work in the Bee Free Zone.
7th September, 2020
Not a good day with it raining in the morning but it did start to fine up late morning allowing us to meet up and make some progress.
By the time I got there, Paul had already finished fitting the kickboards to the perimeter fence posts and was starting to make some progress on the 10 Frame Observation Hive in the Bee Free Zone.
I spent my time fitting up the rails for the chain link curtain and the PVC curtain only to take them down and reverse their positions! Both are now in position in the entrance porch the the BFZ.
9th September, 2020
Framing the Bee Free Zone
Today, Paul set to work on adding the framing to the Bee Free Zone in readiness for fitting the insect screening and Perspex viewing windows.
As with other previous days, I spent the day painting the wooden fixings for the insect screening. When the current paint drums are empty (maybe some time this week) we will have gone through 45 litres of Ronseal Forest Green paint with a lot more to do yet!
So if you want to volunteer some of your free time to help with the painting - don't be afraid to contact us to make sure we will be there.
10th September, 2020
Fixing the Perimeter Screening
We saw a major step forward today as we started to fix the perimeter insect screening into position. With the screening in position, it's starting to look like an apiary and tomorrow, we will be busy fixing into position the batons that will secure everything together.
And as usual ... yet more painting of the batons for the screening!
11th September, 2020
Securing the Cladding
Today we got stuck straight in with trimming the surplus insect screening and fixing the cladding over the perimeter joints.
And as usual ... yet more painting of the batons for the screening - and only just managing to keep myself in front of Paul who is fixing them up as fast as I get them painted (2 coats of course!). Another couple of days and we should be done with the cladding batons (thankfully).
And now - a couple of well earned days off!
11th September, 2020
Finished Painting the BFZ
Yesterday, Paul used up the remainder of the cladding batons I had painted up and then went on to give the new woodwork in the Bee Free Zone it's first coat of paint. Looks like this is getting ready for having the PVC glazing panels fitted for our visitors to see through!
Today, in the heat of the day I got a dozen more cladding batons primed and painted in readiness for Paul to continue fitting them. Only 6 left to get painted and that's all of the bare wood painted up. Just leaves us with a 2nd coat to put over some of the interior woodwork.
18th September, 2020
Ready for PVC Panels in the BFZ
After a very welcome few days break from working on the apiary, Paul and I resumed today with some easy tasks.
I had already given 2 coats to the remaining 6 cladding batons and then set about clearing the BFZ ready for grass cutting. After trimming the last bits of the screening around the BFZ, Paul was busy painting the rebated window sections in readiness for fitting the Perspex panels next week.
The grass in the BFZ is now cut down and ready for "killing" this weekend.
21st September, 2020
Cladding the Porchway
With another good day ahead of us, I started out by fitting down a membrane over the grass in the BFZ I had previously sprayed with a weed killer.
Meanwhile, Paul was busy cutting out the larch inserts for the exterior cladding in the porchway and the gable ends. It made a pleasant change to be painting woodwork in brown instead of green!
Tomorrow, the chipbark for the BFZ will be delivered and spread into into the BFZ.
22nd September, 2020
Working the Bee Free Zone
Yet another good weather day that promised us some progress! We started early today getting stuck into applying 1st and 2nd coats to the exterior cladding Paul had fitted to the porchway.
With the chipbark delivered, I started to fill the BFZ whilst Paul started to fit the Perspex windows into the BFZ.
With the porchway now almost complete, it's time to plan for the fitting of the two screens to keep the bees out of the BFZ - the chain link insect curtain and the pvc strip curtains.
24th September, 2020
Adding the Curtains to the BFZ
With the weather being pretty miserable over the last couple of days, it gave me the chance to fit and trim the inner PVC strip curtain and the 300 meters of the outer insect chain curtain. It did take a few hours to fit each individual strip of links and being under cover in the porchway certainly helped with the rain coming down.
I discovered the curtains work best when their length is clear of the chipbark and not touching.
1st October, 2020
Barge Boards & Rear Door!
The weather hasn't been brilliant over the last few days restricting what we can do at the apiary. Having said that, we are starting to get into the finishing touches even though there is still a fair bit to be done.
This week, we've managed to get all of the laplarch painted and added the barge boards to the gables at both ends of the roof. Even added the first section of cladding in the porch! And Paul surprised me today by having the rear door fitted before I even got down there!
We're now working on seating, Notice Board stands and carved signs that have been ordered, lighting and the Observation Hive.
2nd October, 2020
2nd coat in the porchway
With Storm Alex bearing down on the UK this weekend, I nipped down to the apiary to get a 2nd coat on the cladding in the porchway between the two insect curtains. It'll probably still need a 3rd coat but it will give us a much needed surface for some extra posters and notices. Also managed a 2nd coat of brown on the rear gable end.
Nice and easy and then off back home for a cuppa and feet up! Might actually get a stand made this weekend to accommodate two hives if Storm Alex persists.
PS - a Queen wasp had already taken up residence in the porchway and looked to be settling down into hibernation for the coming winter high up near the roof.
7th October, 2020
1st collapsible triple stand
Had a nice relaxing weekend cutting and jointing some of our leftover wood from the apiary construction and making the first collapsible stand.
This stand will comfortably accommodate a couple of hives leaving a working space in-between. It will sit nicely in front of one of the Observation Windows and will look great when we get a hive sat on it.
8th October - this stand now joined by a green single stand made from other waste wood from the project.
10th October, 2020
First Bees Introduced!
It was a bit of a miserable start to the day having had a fair bit of rain overnight - but as Paul had already prepared and loaded four colonies into his car - there was no turning back!
And so we met early at the apiary to get the hives into position and release the bees into the environment.
The queens in these hives will be changed for Carniolan queens as soon as they become available next year giving us some very gentle colonies for our visitors to watch.
15th October, 2020
Notice Boards installed!
Another milestone event for us today as we set about getting the four Notice Boards installed in the front of the apiary.
Originally, the plan was to fix them to the apiary framework but the sheer weight of them made this a little bit 'iffy' - and so we commissioned some custom stands to accommodate them instead. Glad we did as this is a much better idea!
This is the only ground disturbance we have undertaken so far as it was necessary to concrete the stands into the ground. It was a long physical day for us but it was well worth it when we surveyed our work. Can't wait until tomorrow when I can get some of the proper posters inside them!
16th October, 2020
Visitor benches installed!
Today was yet another milestone event for us as we set about the task of concreting into position the benches that Paul had fabricated at home. But before starting that, I took the opportunity to put some of our educational posters into the Notice Boards - we're already getting visitors popping in so this makes it so much more a reality for them.
We were assisted today by Rebecca and it was certainly refreshing to listen to her ideas - 3 heads are always better than 2!
After excavating out the soil and setting the benches into position, it was delightful to be able to sit down with a cuppa and just simply watch the coming and goings of he bees! Just magic!
20th October, 2020
Clearing up the scrap wood
For that last couple of days, we've been busy cutting up all of the leftover pieces of scrap wood and getting it bagged up for disposal. It's surprising how much unusable scrap there was left over. I know that it's going to a good home with a wood burning stove!
Nice and peacful in the cemetery today so sat down in the BFZ with a coffee and just watched the bees at work. They are still all very busy bringing in pollen from the Ivy so that's a good sign telling us there are young bees to be fed.
9th November, 2020
Varnishing the BFZ Benches
Today, I added a new triple stand for the next couple of colonies to be introduced into the hive enclosure later this month.
We didn't think we'd need to varnish the benches in the Bee Free Zone but after discovering foot marks over one of the benches, I decided that it needed to be done to keep them looking clean and tidy. So first coat went on today - 2 more coats to go!
Bees flying freely in the unusually mild November weather!
11th November, 2020
Icing on the Cake!
Today, apart from giving the benches their 3rd coat of varnish, Paul and I fixed up the apiary signs in the entrances that were carved for us in Cornwall.
This was a major event as the frontage of the apiary is now complete and in readiness for when we start to accept visitors
19th November, 2020
Colourful Hives & Stands!
Today, I added two more colonies into the hive enclosure. These are in colourful hives so we decided to make a new stand for them and add decoration from some stencils we bought a couple of years ago.
Hives and stands don't need to boring and I'm sure children would love to help decorate them with our flower stencils.
3rd December, 2020
We've been working on the visitor attractions in the Bee Free Zone and today got most of the shelves and features in place.
Just need to finish off the Colouring Centre where children can use the wax crayons and colour themselves a bee using the pictures we provide for them. We'll also be adding 4 new educational signs to go on the walls either side of the Observation Hive.
7th December, 2020
The Observation Hive
Today was another Red Letter Day as Paul installed the Observation Hive into the BFZ.
Crafted from American Oak, this magnificent furniture piece would look good in any beekeepers home! Holding 10 National frames, that's plenty enough for a decent colony of bees.
As we're now going into winter, the hive has educational frames on display until we are ready to populate it with live bees next spring.
This will be a serious visitor attraction for us and can't wait to see this happening!
18th January, 2021
Pollination Signs in the BFZ
After providing a Visitors Book for our guests to leave their comments, we have been inspired by the amount of wonderful ideas they have been leaving. Picking up on people planning to return to teach their children and grandchildren about the value of bees, we've produced four new educational signs for the BFZ about our pollinators.