Thursday, 19 January 2012

A strange buzz

When we got the new land there was suddenly so much potential, we could do this, we could do that, we could keep chickens (NO says Steven) we could keep micro pigs (REALLY?! says Clive)

But, one idea that did get through was bees. This was always a bit of a random future aspiration, however Charlie, the beau of the beautiful Hannah turns out to be a bee person and was looking for a special friend with a large garden to share hives, as he doesn’t have any outdoor space of his own. So a match was made and it turns out I am his new special bee friend, and since then the bee idea has snowballed especially as Charlie is intent on us getting the hives set up in March/April to make the most of the year.
Next year these Tithonia will be full of my bees!
So the last couple of weeks have been full of bee thoughts and songs: Honey to the bee (much maligned) the bare necessities ‘the bees are buzzing in the trees making some honey just for me’ (on repeat in my head). I knew I was hooked after I had ordered a bee keeping book and a few others from Amazon and realised that I had read half of ‘Bees at the bottom of the garden’ before I had even opened my new oversized Tom of Finland book.

Last night I even went to a bee talk by the local bee keepers association on how bees sense the world. I was a little apprehensive about this and had no idea what to expect, and over dinner beforehand was quizzing Charlie. He looked a little bemused when I asked if it would be all men, thinking I was only getting involved to flirt with beekeepers rather than for the serious business of apiary, however having had an allotment I know how male orientated they are. He did say that there were a lot of men with beards which I had expected, and pleased as I am currently sporting a beard (it’s cold, I’m lazy) so thought at least I could fit in on that front.

So I went along and was impressed at how friendly and mixed they were as the crowd was. There were probably more women than men, and young rather than the old folks home I was expecting. Only 3 other beards (gasp) but they were really open and forthcoming with advice ‘oh you need this hive not X’ and a little bit scary ‘oh you wait till they swarm, and they will, and then you do x and they all fly up in your face...terrifying...terrifying?!?!

The talk was quite hard core and took me back to my botany days (I haven’t seen a cell diagram since my degree) lots of talk of Rhodesian bears and Welsh headmasters, however really interesting, and the choice of biscuits was spot on, so I left happy with the promise of a nuc (nucleus of bees, look at me with my bee lingo already) in Feb/March.

All very exciting but I have to speed up clearing the corner of the garden where they will go and think about location..... location, location, location as Phil and Kirsty would say as I’m sure wherever they go I will want to put X there instead. Amusingly beekeepers hive siting advice seems to be hide them from your neighbours and don’t tell them!

So all very hurrah!, I’m sure I won’t be so excited when I’ve been stung so many times that I’m only able to type on the computer with one immense swollen finger, but I look forward to my first jar of honey and sitting in the garden watching the bees go about their business.


  1. New garden pets, yay! You're doing a really good thing and they will be at home in your garden especially with all the flowers you'll have soon.

    You might be able to serve some of your own honey on your open day, complementing your cakes :) Happy bee keeping!

  2. Sounds fascinating. Definately hide from neighbors, that would include me when I visit again:) They will love your garden and be right at home in no time. Good luck.

  3. getting used to the bees=your friend thing but that honey will be just for me! and very special guests ;)

    hiding from neighbours is harder than planned. trying to be creative with old fence panels, sticks and trellis?!

  4. How exciting, I wish I had a bigger garden for hives!

  5. Surprisingly you dont need much space at all, and roofs also work well. I saw an interesting picture of hives on an allotment surrounded by netting to keep them out the way and make them just fly up!