A beginner's perspective

The BeeHolder, Summer 2014

I am new to beekeeping. Before the Open Hive Days with Henk and Keith I had never been anywhere close to a hive. So it's been a process of discovery.

For experienced apiarists what I have learned might not be what you would immediately think of. And for everything I've discovered more questions have been raised. I now know that when beekeepers have a pool tea they eat well - homemade bread and butter, elderflower champagne, roast chicken, cakes. Trisha Marlow who was a big part of the Open Hive Day at Keith's was introduced as "almost a commercial beekeeper, but an ethical beekeeper."

So who are unethical beekeepers? Where are they? Some bees are favoured. Some are less favoured. Italian bees are productive but flighty and slightly frowned on. Native black bees are mild mannered and stoic. But I still don't know how to get black bees. And I don't know what happened to the queen bees that Keith and Trisha were liberating from their cells at an apparent record rate. As far as I know they just disappeared into pockets.

Where are they now? I've learned that keeping bees is a real reminder of what is immediately around you - or your bees, that beekeeping is not a solitary activity but one that depends on mentoring and contact, and that like marriage "is by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly". Thank you Henk and Hannah, Keith and Sian for two wonderful experiences.

Richard Carruthers