Adventures in Beekeeping – the Final Chapter?

For those that have been following my exploits learning the art of beekeeping, I must first apologise for this tardy post! Better late than never though I guess, so here’s the last instalment covering the training course that I embarked on way back in March! Another glorious sunny day greeted us for our third and final “practical” session on this Saturday afternoon. As I’ve talked about before, the Exmoor Division of the Somerset Beekeepers Association have been using two apiaries as the training grounds for us newbies – one close to Minehead in a place call Cher, the other a little ways into Exmoor near the village of Rodhuish. As I drove up to Minehead I found myself with a real desire to go back to Cher, the location of my first...

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Adventures in Beekeeping Part Five – A Visit to Rodhuish

So, I’m now a seasoned “pro” in beekeeping, having completed my first practical two hour session at the Exmoor Division a week ago, held a frame, and puffed a bit of smoke, so I’m looking forward to my second session, and feeling a lot more relaxed about being in close proximity to 50,000 0r so bees! In this second session the twenty’ish of us in the group divide our colony into two once more and head to the two different apiaries that we are using as our training grounds. Last week I visited the apiary at Cher, in Minehead, so this week to shake things up a (little)  bit I joined the group heading for the Division’s new apiary for this year on a farm in the village of Rodhuish (pronounced “Rod-ish”), a little...

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Adventures in Beekeeping – Part 4 – The Apiary Sessions

So here we are. After six (well four in my case) hours talking theory, this session is the one where we don our beekeeping suits and head into an Apiary for the first time… We arrived last Saturday afternoon at the Minehead College which has been our base for the duration of the course so far. The guys from the Association arrived laden with crates of protective clothing – all we needed to bring was wellies and everything else was provided. We quickly got suited and booted, split into two groups and headed out to two of the association’s local apiaries, not more than a couple of miles from the college. Suited and Booted I was surprised at how comfortable the suits actually are, the hoods are quite lightweight and visbility and ventilation is...

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Adventures in Beekeeping – Part Three

If you’ve read parts one and two already, you’ll know that I’ve signed myself up for a six part introductory course in the art of Beekeeping. The course is incredible value, costing less than £20 and run by the Exmoor Division of the Somerset Beekeepers Association, a bunch of incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic folk, keen to pass on all their passion and experience to a new set of keepers. Such is the extent of this, that at the end of the course we will also be offered the chance to “Rent a Hive” at one of their Apiaries,  and be shadowed by a member of the Association through an entire season to help us really bed down our new found skills, all for no charge. There can surely be no better way to learn any...

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Adventures in Beekeeping – Part Two

So, it’s session two of my six part course, the second of the three classroom based sessions before we are trusted out into the Somerset Beekeepers Association Apiary. If you’ve read part one you’ll know that I’m already behind, as I had to miss the inaugural class where they apparently provided a two hour overview of the different types of bees, and the basics of how bees make honey. In this second class we spend a couple of hours learning about the equipment involved. In doing so however we also are getting quite a good insight into the whole process of looking after the bees and the beekeeping “season”. I’m not going to try and describe to you all the minutia of  what was covered, but will attempt to give you my...

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Adventures in Beekeeping – Part One

Recently I came across an introductory course in the art of beekeeping, run by volunteers from the Somerset Beekeepers Association. For a nominal charge over the course of six, weekly 2 hour sessions my fellow students and I will learn from these experts both theory and practice, not only of looking after the bees, but also the techniques involved in processing and making products from both the honey and the wax. At the end of the course there is also the ability to “rent a hive” at the Associations Apiary located near Minehead. Friday March 25th was session one, and I’m already at the back of the class. Due to a prior commitment to my son to join him on a school excursion I was unable to attend the first theory session. My contact at the...

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