The Dorchester & Weymouth BKA had a session for would-bee beekeepers this evening. We were each instructed to bring along a piece of kit and talk about it to anybody interested. Mine was the nucleus box. I also collected the club extractor yesterday from Laura, my first apprentice. Soon after I arrived my pocket telephone rang and it was Sue, the Mother of my latest apprentice, Samantha, asking where to drop her off and whether I could bring her back.
There were only 7 beginners, including Sammy, whereas when this was done last year there were many more. Maybe the beekeeping fashion has peaked!
The club extractor has lost the guard over the gears and reminds me of my first, galvanised extractor which was usually operated by child power. Each year I sacrificed a pencil in the gears to demonstrate to the kids what would happen to their fingers if they got them caught. I mentioned this this evening to a couple with a young lad who was twirling the handle.
Sammy still needs to get her apiary site badger-proof and level. We discussed an alternative: using a top bar hive suspended from above to keep it out of badgers’ way. My first TBH was slung between fence posts on plastic string. That was fine until it perished, dumping the hive head first to the ground. I should have used wire. I’m running 3 TBHs at present. One is on trestles; one is on fence posts sledge happered into the ground with cross pieces nailed and wired in place to support the hive; one is on 6 fence posts arranged in two ‘wigwams’ of three posts.
Sammy’s off to South Africa soon and hopes to bring back one or two bees from thereabouts – dead.