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I saw a Beekeeping demonstration at the Royal Show in 2007. 2 fellas holding up wooden frames with a lot of bees on them explaining about beeswax, honey, the queen, workers, drones – I understood the words but what were they talking about?!
Why didn’t all these bees fly away?
Why didn’t we all get stung?
Where were the bees getting this honey from, what was the point?
I signed up for a Taster Day at Hackney City Farm, I lived in London. I was fascinated by all the information about the honey bee life cycle, pollination, converting nectar to honey and then we got to put silly suits on and look into a colony.
The smell, the noise, the feel of those insect feet, claws on my hands, thousands of bees getting on with their many jobs and I could watch. I loved it.
But did I want to share my small garden with about 50,000 bees, would the bees be too interested in my neighbours’ reggae summer parties?!
Life changed and I decided it was time to leave London and go back to the country.
I moved to Hisomley, a small hamlet near Westbury, Wiltshire. I joined the local bee club and signed up to the Beginner’s Course. My task master tutor lived very nearby and in May 2009 I took my first nuc home from her. I was apparently helping to check through her dozen or so colonies every couple of weeks, I lifted a lot of heavy boxes, asked a lot of questions and learnt a lot. I think I was helpful sometimes but definitely got the ‘get on Diane, talk and walk’!
I now have about 30 colonies, sell Thorne’s equipment, BBWear suits, some locally made (carpenter beekeeper) open mesh floors and other local products. I teach some sections on the Beginner’s courses at several local beekeeping clubs, attend as many meetings as possible to supply kit and offer much advice along the way to help others enjoy this fabulous hobby.
And then there’s the honey. Each harvest has its own unique flavour, texture and colour depending on the flowers the bees have visited. What a joy.