Beekeeping in Lincolnshire
That sounds interesting I hear you cry and that’s what I thought, “keeping bees sounds very interesting” but my dear friends it’s far from interesting . . .
It’s unimaginably fascinating !
Regulars, I hope, know enough about me now to know I wouldn’t say such a thing without good reason or knowledge - so to that end this afternoon . . .
Your host went beekeeping in Lincolnshire - I hope you’ll give this a read as it’s another cracker
Before we get started my thanks and appreciation go out to beekeeper extraordinaire Marcus Short without whom none of this would have been possible.
His kind invitation and hospitality lead to what can only be described as a glorious afternoon.
The downside of this article is I learnt so much it’s going to be impossible to do the full afternoon justice in one article so this will serve as something of an overview.
A Colony of Bees is Living Perfection
We’ve all seen bees but how many have thought simply as I did - a bee’s a bee ? In ignorance I knew they made honey and were generally busy but actually seeing a hive in action and getting up close was a real eye and mind opener.
Needless to say your host, who is renowned throughout the world for acts of ‘derring do’ in the pursuit of articles for his cherished readers, was in there at the sharp end.
If ever a man was infectious then it’s Marcus and after chatting about all things bee related, all matters natural and organic not to mention alternative lifestyles I got a crash course in beekeeping and checking hives - a bit of colony housekeeping if you will.
A little bit of smoke makes the bees easier to manage - not too much though - only a suggestion. The top of the hive can then be removed revealing the honeycombed sections - it’s a tremendous sight - a miracle of nature
Did You Know
These hives can contain between 70,000 to 125,000 bees
Every bee in the hive has a specific job which usually changes as they get older.
It takes 21 days for a bee to emerge from an egg and then it starts a career
1: Firstly it’s a House Bee - primarily cleaning and polishing honeycombs
2: Guard Bee
3: Scout or Forager which is does for most of its life span
Some bees just collect water to regulate the humidity of the hive and staggeringly the water content of natural honey is always exactly 17%
Male bees are entirely reliant on the females for food and when in September he is no longer required for breeding he is, quite literally, dragged out of the hive by 4 or 5 female bees and thrown out - left to die outside !
I actually tasted the honey from this honeycomb, pulled a bit off and ate it and licked my fingers - how good is that - absolutely fresh and pure - it was stunning - a world away from what you buy in the supermarket
It was an honour and a thrill to actually be able to handle part of a hive like this and something I’ll not forget. Afterwards whilst sitting in the glorious sun and enjoying some of Marcus’ staggeringly good homemade mead talk turned to the correlation between bees and life.
What you see is perfection, a system and a community living, working and surviving in perfect harmony - not only that but with ruthless efficiency - it has to be a template for a way of life transferable, in principal, to us as human beings.
I’m sure if we did things more like bees the world wouldn’t be in such a mess !
There is a sad side to this which I intend to tackle in a separate article, the Varroa Mite, more of that to come another day.
Today we’ll keep as a happy day. It so nearly didn’t come off - all very last minute, even then it stuttered and stalled due to the weather. It had to be abandoned in the morning as it really needs to be warmer weather when it comes to the safer handling of bees - something else I didn’t know.
It was a tremendous afternoon and it had a great impact on me, Marcus, his farm and organic products are something we’ll return to in future articles. Suffice is to say your host is now much enriched both in knowledge and experience.
I’ve tried not to drone on (sorry) and keep this article more about the experience than specifics with a desire to get over just what a great time I had.
Any mistakes are mine of course and I just wish I could bring you everything verbatim - it was tremendous and I feel most fortunate.
I hope you enjoyed sharing my latest exploit and as always any comments are more than welcomed - I shall raise a glass to Marcus, his bees and all of you tonight and yes it will be a glass of mead - the drink of history - perfect end to a perfect day