I probably have more apprentices than hives now. Yesterday I visited the Incline Community Gardens and Orchard on Portland to discuss the future of the, currently beeless, apiary with the incoming and outgoing Chairladies and to be introduced to a new apprentice: Chrissie, a humourous lady with whom I got along well. I gave them all a first lesson: ‘naming of parts’ as I took the hives, a National and a Top Bar Hive, apart to show them what goes where and why.
Then I went to Weymouth to pick up some guinea pig housing to transport to my very first apprentice, Laura, who has just come back from 3 months at her parents’ home in Zimbabwe. Her pigs had been cared for by a friend in her absence.
Today I went across to Tatworth, near Chard in Somerset to attend to the empty Top bar Hive I have in apprentice Sarah Holdsworth’s Bee Happy Plants nursery. Sarah, although not yet a beekeeper herself, is passionate about them. She is off to London tomorrow to join in the protest about neonicotiniod insecticides. It had been suggested that as many as possible wear bee-suits so I loaned her three from the back of my car. I last saw them in her washing machine!
We went to the TBH and I eased the lid of a phial of swarm attractant and placed it in the hive, kept upright by a tuft of moss that had mysteriously appeared therein.
Back on the road again I headed for where the 3 counties: Somerset, Devon and Dorset, meet to see if my apprentice Janie still had bees alive in her Warre hive. She wasn’t in and her bees weren’t flying in the cool weather but I pressed an ear to the hive and detected the usual murmer.
I went home and pottered in preparation for some work on the allotment when the door bell rang. It was Sue, a friend who lives a couple of chains away across the road. She had been impressed by the fancy hive I had picked up at the recent auction and placed for decoration in my front garden. She is now thinking of taking up beekeeping herself and sought my advice.
I think I spend far more time talking and writing about bees than I do playing with them!