Milkwood Apiary Design Brainstorm

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We’ve all been a bit in love with bees around here, ever since we met Tim Malfroy. Actually I liked bees before that, but Tim got us seriously hooked.

We’re now aiming to create a truly fabulous Warré apiary at Milkwood Farm that can showcase small-farm natural beekeeping at its best. And produce many buckets of organic, ethical honey. Yum.

So Tim came to Milkwood last week and spent some time with our interns to help them design the new Milkwood apiary…

We’ve been talking about this re-design for a while, but now it’s time to get cracking. Following Tim’s visit, the interns have taken this design project and run with it: busy bees humming as they research, design, consider, discuss, implement.

Tim checks our warré hive. All's well. Can you pick the supercedure cells? Most exciting... Photo by Olivier Sofo.

As part of Tim’s visit, he also gave the bees a quick check, even though it wasn’t the best of weather to do it. And guess what? They’ve wintered well! We were quite unsure how they would go, given everything that happened last year with the wet season, new colonies, combining hives and so on.

Tim was pleased to see two empty supercedure cells, where the colony had successfully reared and hatched two new queens. This is a great sign, and the colony looks very strong and ready for a big season of foraging. I am so proud!

So now, following up from our first season, we’re ready to make this apiary truly rock. At the Mudgee Field Days last year, Tim sketched these ideas:

Milkwood warré apiary design ideas as sketched by Tim Malfroy

And now, following a forage assessment, the interns are now hard at work designing the new apiary based on Milkwood Farm’s needs and parameters.

We need an apiary that is well sited, safe for the bees and also appropriate for our Natural Beekeeping courses, so that everyone can learn in a safe and accessible space. Lots to think about.

Below is portions of the interns design brainstorm – what the bees need, what we need, what needs to be considered, project goals…

Looking forward to seeing where this all goes.. Hopefully in this direction:

Feasting on Warré honeycomb in Autumn...

Next stage of this project is a heap of flat-pack Warré hives arriving from Tim, and then we start making the stands, the hives, designing and planting the bee forage garden, creating paths, and making it all real. I can’t wait.

Big thanks to Tim Malfroy and to our Spring 2011 interns for their dedication and energy around this project.

We are currently taking applications for our Summer/Autumn 2012 internship program, so if you’d like to be a part of future aspects of this farm (and this apiary), check it out.

Future Natural Beekeeping courses at Milkwood and also in Sydney are here.

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4 responses to “Milkwood Apiary Design Brainstorm

  1. We are looking into siting a hive at the moment – a quiet corner of the yard, morning sun, protection from afternoon sun and wind, lots of flowering plants and a source of accessible water – leads me to the rear coner of the chook yard under the fruit trees… construction of the hive stand starts this weekend, with room for at least 2 Warre hives on the stand.

    Thanks Tim, Kirsten and all the Milkwooders – still inspired by the Autumn NBK course we took!



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