I was chatting with a farmer this afternoon and the conversation turned to beekeeping (as it often does!). He remembers his Grandfather keeping bees. From my knowledge of the family – his Father was at school with my Uncle who is now about 83 – this must have been about 60 years ago. Grandfather didn’t wear gloves or veil or use a smoker when he examined his bees, he just talked to them and moved very slowly and gently. He emphasised to Grandson the importance of moving slowly and, now I’ve put the idea into his head, he’s thinking of taking up beekeeping himself when he retires from farming.
It turns out that his water meads are just across the River Bride from my top bar hive, which I generally work without gloves or smoke. I do normally wear a veil though as I got a very warm pair of ears on one occasion when I didn’t bother.