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In addition to giving my smoker a thorough clean-out I shall also be going through the cupboards in the bee-shed and clearing things which haven’t been used for years.

In addition I’ve decided to return to a long-waiting project. This autumn, Saffron Walden Beekeepers had a visiting speaker who talked about different hive designs. One in particular which he was recommending was a Dartington Long Hive.

Some years ago, when Saffron Walden division organised the Essex Beekeepers conference we had Robin Dartington as one of our visiting speakers and he demonstrated how to use his new hive to the most advantage. I was very impressed and bought all his publications. I followed this with a visit to his apiary where we spent half a day working his hives.

Robin Dartington inspecting a colony in a long hive

I bought some of the wood to make my own hive but then the bee season started and it got shelved. I have now resurrected all the pieces from the back of the bee-shed and hope the workshop won’t be too cold to enable me to push the project further along. As it is now fifteen years since I started the project, I’ve accumulated a lot of off-cuts in various sizes so hopefully I will be able to finish using recycled wood.

Cut timber for a Dartington Long Hive