I've been lucky enough to be sent a special crown board to review by a small beekeeping business in Kent called Bee Equipment Ltd: www.bee-equipment.co.uk. As well as selling beekeeping equipment online they also keep around 300 hives in the Kent area and sell nucs and queens.
As its name suggests, their multi function crown board (£16.65) can be used for several purposes: feeding, treatments and swarm control.
Feeding - Rapid top feeders fit easily onto this crown board. The depth allows shallow feeders.
Treatments – Treatments can be carried out when you turn the board over.
Swarm Control –
1) Firstly find all the queen cells and allow to reduce to a single visible queen cell. Using the normal position, cover the hole in the Multi Function Crown Board.
2) Find the queen....
3) Place two frames of brood in a brood box above the Multi Function Crown Board and shake as many bees as you can from the box. Fill the bottom box with frames or replace existing ones.
4) Release the queen into the bottom box, put the Multi Function Crown Board on followed by the second box full of bees with the yellow cap facing the opposite direction to the bottom box.
5) Take out the yellow cap, place the Multi Function Crown Board on top and close.
6) Flying and foraging bees will leave the top box with only nurse bees remaining. Leave for approximately two weeks for the cell in the top box to hatch, and hopefully your queen will be laying.
The swarm control idea is pretty exciting... especially if you are stuck for space and want to be able to do swarm control vertically. It's too late for us to try it out this year, but I shall have a go next year if I can.
I have to say the delivery service was maybe the best I've ever had from any company. First I received an email to say the delivery date, giving a 1 hour delivery time slot and the option to change the delivery date, collect from a pick up point, deliver to a neighbour or have the order delivered to a safe place at my address. In a matter of seconds I was able to change the delivery date to a day I'd be at home. Brilliant!
On the delivery day I was sent another email giving me a 1 hour delivery slot - and it was delivered during that slot. So useful! There's been so many times I've had to stay in for hours waiting for orders from other companies because their delivery time slot was all day.
The product itself feels sturdy and well made. It's good to support small local companies so if you want excellent customer service and competitive prices, plus a wide range of products, why not give Bee Equipment a try.
Thanks so much to Emily for taking the time to write about our product. Please check out her blog for regular articles on a wide range of beekeeping topics.