The main concern when we planned to build a hive and get bees was if I would manage it and so this is a Disability & beekeeping update!
As a wheelchair user everything is harder but the addition of chronic pain makes it harder or impossible at times to be active and then the big question was about the chronic fatigue.
I got the cast swarm in the middle of May and thought “right here we go” and I have to admit to having a bit of a wobble as the reality of it hit me. I was worried that I may not be able to cope with the demands of having a hive.
2 months later and I now realise that it isn’t that much work!
Well that is of course because I have just the one hive and and a Top Bar hive does require less attention and that as well as the accessibility and more natural way of keeping bees is why we went with that design.
I have performed a few inspections with the help of my eldest daughter who is 27 and they have not been too demanding on my energy levels.
For the most I have paid most attention to them by laying on a sun lounger 8 feet from the entrance and just watching them come and go and I have to say that it is bloody amazing.
The colony is doing well, they initially were off at a sprint and built six bars of comb in 10 days and then on the next inspection there was a noticeable slowing of comb building but the there was a lot of capped brood and larvae.
The biggest issue I am finding is actually stopping myself opening up the hive for a peek and just letting them get on with it and that is obviously inexperience.
I find myself worrying if it’s all going well and I have to keep reminding myself that they will be absolutely fine without me and in fact are better off without me opening it up.
I am trying to learn to read the colony from what I see happening at the entrance, it is difficult and I marvel at the experienced beekeepers who can and also when they talk about the difference in noise from a hive at certain times and I hope that I will one day have that knowledge.
I feel more secure in my inexperience because of @beekeepershour on twitter and the beekeepers that post on there who are always more than happy to answer what must be very stupid questions from me.
So I am very happy to report that I am able to (so far) keep bees and I have even had a few bad flare ups of fatigue that have wiped me out for a good few days at a time and the latest for over a week.
I am planning on going in for a look next weekend to see if I need to give them any more room and also to check on a couple of bars of comb that were not the straightest!
Disability does not necessarily mean beekeeping is not possible!