It was the first meeting of the year for Dorchester & Weymouth BKA. It was a talk by Roger Patterson from W.Sussex on how to improve your bees. Roger is a good speaker and I went and fetched my new apprentice, Sammy, from Weymouth to listen to him (although she hasn’t joined yet – hint, Sammy!).
It was a good and entertaining talk, despite the powerpoint. I sat in the front row and heckled throughout, which added to the entertainment for me, if not the rest. One thing I didn’t pick him up on was his aversion to ‘runniness’ in bees. OK, it is useful if they sit still on the comb when you are looking for the queen, but how often do you really need to do that? Once a year maybe. I quite like runniness as you can shift bees out of the way more easily. I had some once that, if you took off a super and placed it in front of the hive, within minutes you saw them all abandon the super and walk in an orderly fashion back home.
Roger comes across to Gormanston and sometimes gives talks there. Last year, as he and I were sat outside The Cock, he challenged me to write a poem on a subject of his choosing. I accepted the challenge and he chose The Queen Excluder. So during the course of a pint of Guinness I wrote the following sonnet:
THE QUEEN EXCLUDER
I’d like to keep the queen down in her place. The revolution says she must not rise I do quite like to see her royal face Way down among the lowly girls and guys. Confined down there within the bottom box She cannot rise to rule and do some harm. She may perhaps be cunning as a fox And emigrate and take away a swarm. I wonder whether, if, I should instead Put the queen excluder underneath, Allowing her full access overhead, But stuck inside the hive until her death. On second thoughts, I would not see her die So “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!” is my cry.
This poem, together with about a score of other bee-related poems will be in my new book as soon as I can get around to doing the pictures.