Yes it is official, I have bees, I have been given a swarm!
After building the Top Bar Hive last August, it has been a very long wait, but finally I have some bees.
Now I first have to thank a couple of people!
The first is Jacqui and Karen who go by @beekeepingkids on Twitter, they teach the kids at school about beekeeping and gifted me a Nuc of bees, but this lockdown meant the guaranteed mail delivery could no longer be relied on. So it was a no go, but I am so grateful for their kindness.
The second is @beekeepershour who hold a 9pm Twitter chat on Thursday evenings and I have learnt so much and made some amazing connections with beekeepers who are always happy to share their knowledge.
It is through Beekeepers Hour that I got chatting to Joe Ibbertson aka @BizzleBugs on Twitter and Joe took the time to phone Pat from my local BKA and let her know that I was worthy of a swarm when one became available and within an hour, one did!
Pat rang to say that Nicolas who lived about 20 minutes away had a swarm from one of his hives and he would bring them round that afternoon!
Now I have to admit that as well as being very excited, I became very nervous!
The past few years of reading, watching YouTube videos and basically gleaning information from everywhere I could was now going to be put to the test.
Nicolas not only brought the bees round, but he also got the swarm into the hive for me. So a massive thank you to him.
I am so lucky to get a swarm from the local BKA and that is because I am not a member, I have been to no meetings and I have taken no courses.
Now that will likely sound crazy to many people. Surely I should do these things and get up close and personal with a hive before keeping bees myself and I agree!
However I can’t do these things!
As you can see from the photo, I am disabled and I suffer from chronic pain and I am never out of pain, even sitting still in my wheelchair for half hour some days will cause my pain levels to soar and so meetings are literally painful. I cannot also tell when I am going to have a flare up and so I am very unreliable and because of all these things, I can’t work and my wife is my carer and so I couldn’t even afford courses and membership.
Also for these reasons I chose the Top Bar Hive design.
This hive means that the bees will require less attention and will be okay even if I have a month long flare up. The hive is the perfect height for me to wheel up to and gain access and there is no heavy lifting involved.
I also would like to mention that someone messaged me privately on Twitter and has kindly offered to gift me a one year subscription to the British Beekeepers Association which is very generous and I am so thankful for this very kind gift.
So yes I have a hive, I have bees, but none of this would be possible without the help and kindness of many people and I will also be having help from family to look after the bees and the hive.
I guess it is no surprise that yesterday & today I was laid on a sun lounger near the hive just watching the bees. They have settled in very well and were out on Orientation flights. This is put simply, them calibrating their internal getting to know where they are before they start flying off to forage.
And wow, it is so amazing to watch them, to see them flying around the entrances and also the bees in the entrances fanning to regulate the temperature in the hive.
So this is the start of my journey as a beekeeper.
I will keep you up to date!