Post by IOM Fed Education Officer, Cilla Platt.

Our Western member Nicky Watterson has just plunged into beekeeping in a rather unusual way! Nicky whom has no beekeeping experience, entered a competition run by “Eat Natural” to win a hive and bees.

“Eat Natural” make cereals and snack bars using the most natural methods possible with honey being a major ingredient.

She was selected as one of the 25 lucky winners.

With this unusual hive made from recycled pallet wood, came bees, a new protective suit, smoker and hive tool.

“Eat Natural” also provided training which has been supplied by us at the IOM Beekeepers Federation classes and Apiary.

As bees can’t be imported, that part of the prize has also been supplied by the the Fed’s Training & Breeding Apiary; nice gentle black bees.


The hive is not just made from pallet wood but comes with lots of electronic equipment supplied by Arnia ( to monitor the processes in the living colony.

The readings are sent back over the ether to a hub in the UK  where they can be assessed and compared with colonies all over Britain.

The equipment monitors Hive Temperature, Hive Acoustics, Humidity, Brood temperature.

There is also a weather pack with readable icons outside the hive to give readings of rainfall, temperature and sunshine etc.

All this data is sent back to Arnia who wish to monitor how the bees cope with day to day conditions, through the equipment and the beekeepers observations.

This is all very exciting stuff, and having got to know Nicky over the previous months, I think the company picked exactly the right person to win this prize.

A more grounded and practical person you could not hope to meet. Just putting together this jigsaw of a hive and installing its electrical gadgetry is eye watering.

The bees that are working at the sharp end of this project were installed into their new home last week on the most glorious sunny calm day.

They first had spent a day or two acclimatising to their coastal environment in the  nucleus box, having set off from St Johns a week earlier and spending the weekend in Port St Mary just to thoroughly test them!  Their navigation skills have been unfairly enhanced.

We look forward to finding out how Nicky and her bees get on, and what Arnia can learn from them in comparison to the other 24 colonies dotted round the British Isles.


4 Responses to Nicky’s Bees

  1. Congratulations Nicky! Looking forward to future updates 🙂

  2. pauline says:

    What an exciting project! Another example of the many, many different ways bees and beekeepers can work together. Beekeeping at its best! I’m looking forward to hearing more about Nicky’s bees…

  3. Phil says:

    Interesting article that Cilla – thanks!

    Looks like Nicky could do with a bit of screening round that hive to protect them from the coastal winds

  4. Kate Brennan says:

    That’s brilliant!!

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