Friday, 13 February 2009

Bee class on snowy night

On Thursday evening Dave, my neighbour, and I drove through the damp and snowy streets of North East London to our first beekeeping class. I had been looking forward to this for weeks. The class took place in the local horticultural hall; a building a little bigger then a hut. Even though it was a cold evening eighteen budding beekeepers turned up. Our age range from 'youth' to 'elderly' with the average leaning towards middle age. 

The class was run by Ken and Jenny; both long time beekeepers. He has the demeanour of an keen knowledgeable amateur.  They began by cutting  tiny pieces of white cotton threads into our palms. This, Ken informed us, is the size of a bee's egg!  A useful reminder for everyone what to look out for in our hives. After an hour of talk on the generality on beekeeping: how many eggs the queen bee will lay in a day (1000), how many bees there are in a hive (around 70,000) Ken moved onto the subject of diseases. Though it is all very useful and important to know about such things clearly it was all a bit too much, and  off putting, for some in the class. After all it was only our first lesson. One poor student was clearly troubled by the precarious nature of beekeeping. To Ken it's all in a season of beekeeping. 

Next lesson  we shall be learning how to make up frames for the hive. Where is my hammer and Stanley knife?

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