A Bee Keeper’s First Year
I got my bees last September as a result of a chance conversation. I’d long had an interest in bees but hadn’t got around to doing anything about it. Then suddenly, I owned a colony of bees and their associated hardware. First problem was how to transport them. I contacted HWBKA and asked if they might know of anyone who would be willing to help and before I knew it I’d had 6 or 7 offers; my first introduction to the world of bees and what helpful people bee keepers are. With assistance from my new-found bee buddy who moved my bees, I got through the first winter. I now realise what a piece of luck that was and mostly due to the bees deciding just to ignore me and get on with it. In the spring I signed up for the bee course. I found the course just as helpful as those who didn’t get their bees until after they started the course. The sessions are planned to be relevant to what needs to be done at particular times of the year. I found them very useful and it’san opportunity to chat to others and learn from their experiences. We’ve all had very different bee years with good times and bad and some have been very good and some, awful! But bees are endlessly fascinating and very independent. You might be able to influence the bees a bit but, actually, they are in charge and I like that.
I would definitely recommend doing the course. I missed 2 or 3 of the sessions due to commitments I couldn’t change. It was a disadvantage but as it was clear what was to be covered I found it was possible to catch up with the theory (the BBKA Guide to Beekeeping is particularly helpful) even if I missed out on the practical experience. That was a disadvantage as there’s nothing to beat seeing something done and having a go yourself. But bee keepers are happy to share their knowledge and gaps were filled by asking questions by email. Our tutor was particularly helpful when I got in a muddle, but it may behe edits this bit out!
Could anything be better? Publish the dates of the sessions 6 months in advance. Tricky I know but it would have been great to get to all the sessions.
Good luck with your bees!