Beekeeping in the Sunshine with the Aberystwyth Beekeeping Association
I haven’t given up on the idea of bee-keeping yet. In fact I’ve been reading more, listening to podcasts and keeping in touch with the Aberystwyth Bee Keeping Association (ABKA).
We have decided that the best plan of attack as far as bee-keeping in the back garden is concerned is to learn as much as we can this year, attend meetings of the ABKA whenever we can and make contacts in the local bee-keeping community.
We would really have liked to start this year, but it is a little late now and Anna and Morgan hadn’t had chance to see a hive up close and personal until yesterday at an ABKA meeting. I didn’t really want to introduce a hive of bees into the garden until Anna had seen them properly so that we all knew what we were letting ourselves in for. Waiting until next year is the sensible option and gives us plenty of time to prepare.
The meeting yesterday was very reassuring though. My parents were here so we went along en masse (I did check that this was OK before hand) and we went armed with Anna’s special Guinness cake so no one was likely to turn us a away either! In fact, everyone was very welcoming and the meeting was well organised. They had suits and gloves etc. for all of us, including a childs one for Morgan. Once fully protected we headed off to the orchard to inspect a couple of new hives, whilst the more experienced people headed down to the field where the host, Jim, had 5 established hives and was talking people through his queen bee rearing techniques.
As beginners we were more than happy with our little hives, where the bees were very quiet and well behaved. The first of the hives was healthy with a new queen. We could tell that she had mated as there were cells with eggs in and also some with grubs in. The rest of the frames were well stocked with nectar and pollen too so all looked good in that hive.
Morgan enjoyed looking through them and wasn’t at all intimidated by the bees. he picked it up pretty quickly and was soon spotting the difference between honey, pollen, grubs, workers, drones and the queen and seemed really interested in how it all worked.
The second hive was well stocked with nectar, and pollen stores and had lots of honey in it but it appeared queenless. We of course reported back to Jim with this news and I’m sure he will re-queen the colony soon.
After going through the hives we headed down to the queen rearing talks. These were a little above us as we won’t be doing advanced techniques like that for a while, but it was still good to see the larger hives in action.
Afterwards had a chat with a few of the other bee-keepers over a drink and some cake. The Guinness cake was of course well received so we’ll be welcomed back again!
Overall it was very promising. Our garden might not be perfect for bees but most people seemed to think it would be OK. It was also good to see that Anna and my Mum were able to sit in pretty close proximity to the hives whilst we went through them and that Morgan will become a good little helper and in time an expert bee-keeper. We think therefore that they will be fine at the bottom of the garden and now can’t wait to get started.