Sybil and the bee swarm in April

November 2020 – wintering the bees

wintering down & syrup feeding of the bee hives
One made 50lbs but they lost their Queen & my attempts to replace her didn’t work this year so next year I will revive them with a new Queen. 
a very productive year with 2 hives producing 80 to 85lbs of honey
July 2020 – an update from Gavin:

Dear John,

An update on the alternative ‘classic’ activity due in part to the pandemic lockdown.

The bees I collected in April & May & set up in new hives & my original hive have been so very busy since then, the 2nd new hive produced 25lbs of honey in 16 days & my original one has produced 64 lbs since April !!!
Today I extracted a lot of honey from 24 frames ( 3 supers) and it looks to be a big quantity. It’s all settling in the tank now & I will bottle it once I’ve filtered it tomorrow night.

The photos are of capped frames waiting to be uncapped & put in the spinner & one which I had just uncapped with my hot elec knife & one of the frames in the spinner with some honey visible at the bottom. It is now much fuller & looks like I may have aprox 50 lbs + that which drips out of the cappings too. Busy job now to filter & bottle it. Quite amazing what these little busy bees can produce from flowers 💐 & trees etc. Nice to have a hobby that can produce enough to cover expenses & sometimes a bit more !!!

I hope you are both fine & all other Alvis members are well & free of the Covid 19 virus.

It will be nice to get the ‘ old timers’ back out on the road again soon.

With best wishes


This April was the first for some years that I have not driven the Alvis on the open road to meet fellow Alvis owners. However, there is some consolation in knowing that if I pick up the phone to call one, they are likely to be home, answer the call and have time to chat. It is also the first time for some years that I have been able to observe the garden in spring on a daily basis, hear the birds sing, and see a blue sky with no planes (except the Red Arrows, but I don’t mind that). So for something completely different….
From Gavin Wiggins-Davies
Dear Alvisarchive,

No I haven’t quite gone off my trolley after 5 weeks of isolated lockdown !  You asked for ‘Drive Day photographs’ and as I was not able to drive old Sybil out anywhere I thought I could try to share with you all my other weekend activity and some photographs and two videos!

25800 TC21/100 – Sybil
I keep a bee and was told of a swarm last Thursday nearby so drove down , no not in Sybil, & collected the big swarm and brought them home and popped them into a spare old hive that evening.
Next day my new hive arrived (only ordered it 5 days earlier) & I rehoused them into their new des res on Friday.  I went into my original hive on Saturday to make sure that the swarm had not come from that hive but I was relieved to find only 6 newly started Queen cells in it so no chance that they had ‘buzzed orf’ !  In fact I thought it unlikely as the new colony of bees are much larger and darker, a little more like the old English Black bee which is somewhat in decline.
I collected a full honey super* out of my original hive a week before the swarm arrived and I have never had honey ready for collection in April before nor have I ever seen a swarm before May !!
Apologies for breaking the Club trend and sharing activities other than Alvis related but as I was unable to drive anywhere but I was able to do something worthwhile with my time I thought I could try to share it with you all.
I only hope that you don’t ‘blackball’ me for some sort of Alvis heresy ?
Thank you all for the email posts which are helping to keep me and I expect all the other AOC members keen and raring to get going.
With my best wishes to you all and do stay safe,
* a bee super is a container the super frames into which the bees put/store their honey. Bees live in a larger box at the bottom of the hive called a Brood box & make & store their honey in a Super positioned just above the Brood box.( I have 3 x Supers on my original hive as they are working very busily and with the early season and a full super already I am giving them lots of room to work in, They are already working in all 3 supers ! )

A new page has been added on a small run of Alvis by Offord

Some more photos have been added to the previous post Your Drive __ Day photos

Author: alvisarchive

Driving Alvis cars since 1964 and the website since 2012

6 thoughts on “Sybil and the bee swarm in April”

  1. I never expected to read about bees in the Alvis Archive but there is a big coincidence today!
    My father was Willie Dunn, the Alvis Chief Engineer for many years until 1959 when he retired. Alvis asked him to return as they were missing his guidance and leadership as they needed to land the first production contract for 125 Stalwart high mobility load-carriers. In 1962 they asked me to take over from him as chief engineer for cars and fighting vehicles. My father was a life-long beekeeper and taught me a little of his craft.
    In today’s Times newspaper there is a disturbing article about the disease Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) which has spread over the last decade to most English and Welsh counties There is a possible link to the importing of too many queen honey bees.
    In the Archive article Gavin says that he has several large, dark queens. I fear that his colonies are suffering from CBPV.

    1. Hello there, I am pleased to report that SYL 434 is very much alive & active. I bought Sybil in 2010 & have coveted over 12000 miles in her since. At least 6 times into Europe as far as Poland. Not my choice of colour as I prefer the original 2 tone that she used to wear but I will leave as is until new paint is needed then revert to the original.
      Keep well & thank you for your comment.
      Are you a bee keeper?

      Best wishes


  2. Brilliant here in Lorca Spain we have the activity of the bee eaters as bows the time that bees are doing their work pollinating the olive,nectarines orange and more trees

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