13 July 2016

Beekeeping without any bees.

So the tension mounts, as my top bar hive stands empty, and my newly made swarm trap hive also lies empty, awaiting a kind host. At least I have a firm prospect of establishing one or both hives at a local farm, after the initial neighbourhood garden proved to be unsuitable due to its occasional use by children.
After the beekeeping course attended with Charles a couple of weeks ago, I was left with the impression that bees are generally well behaved, and not too dangerous. ( I was stung just once).

The air is buzzing with bees

However, I attended another learning session with a local beekeeping group, closer to home, where strong emphasis is placed on the safety aspects to be adopted by members.  I was loaned a suite and veil and permitted to watch procedural checks which are undertaken weekly. Tutorials are given by a mentor - one to one - and work is undertaken in pairs much like the buddy system used by deep sea divers. Smokers are all smoking and said to be a very necessary and potent pacifier of bees. ( I was stung just twice).  One vital use of the smoker, being to puff smoke onto the site of a sting in order to mask the scent deposited there by the bee, so as to avoid a multiplicity of stings.
Having grown accustomed to paddling my own canoe, so to speak, during my years dinghy sailing, the contrast is obvious, and the close human contact something I am going to find almost as much of a challenge as the beekeeping itself.
From out of the mouths of several others I have heard it said that asking the same question of half a dozen keepers will elicit a dozen different answers and each is to be regarded with a degree of scepticism.
I suspect that it requires two heads to handle a hive not simply because of the  buddy system safety aspect, but also because two heads are required to understand what is needed to make bees happy, and this long before any honey is gathered. 

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