Sunday, 2 February 2014

Introduction to Beekeeping - course dates 2014

Hands up, who wants to take up beekeeping in 2014? We thought you might like to hear about the experience of one of our 2013 students, Simon. (See below...)

Let us know via email if you would like to come and join in - we offer beginner one day taster courses from £95 pp (Max group size 4) and can also provide one-to-one training, set-up and ongoing support - which is what Simon went for.

Available dates for our taster courses are May 24th and July 12th  -

We look forward to hearing from you!

Andre and Jane


As an interested but completely un-initiated wannabee (geddit?), I was slightly downhearted about the traditional path to beekeepery that suggested I would have to spend many hours.. a scarce resource in my life, over many weeks learning about the intricacies of the hive before I could embark on my own apirarism.

Fascinated by the little blighters, It had long been a habit of mine to approach bees - particularly bumble bees - and stroke their enticing hairy backs.. a child brought up with animals and - yes, an apiary run by my late grandfather I was always content to stare at the comings and goings of hive bees from a couple of feet away, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t bother them and that I was unlikely to be interrupted by anyone (especially my family who considered the next door garden to be a little/a lot close for comfort).

So, it was certainly on my bucket list but not on my short-term radar as us denizens of office based employment are won’t to describe it.  Imagine my joy then to be recommended to a gentle giant of a man who would teach me what I needed to know to get started and set me up with the wherewithal.  "A neat thought”, I thought.. but how good can this be?  Surely, too to be true!  However, on the recommendation of a friend who had taken the plunge, I picked up the phone on a what-the-hell basis and have never looked back.

Andre Cardona took me gently by my metaphorical hand and led me through the simile of the tangled undergrowth that is the care and husbandry of the (literal) colony.  His knowledge and skill, evident from the start, were both comforting and reassuring.  After a session or two following him around and getting real hands-on experience of hive inspections, queen identification, marking etc. etc. we spent a number of what seemed fleet hours discussing the finer points and preparing for the arrival of my own first hive.  Illustrated with his own pictures, Andre’s explanations of the complexities of hive life and the various basic points were joyful and thankfully not complex.. As well as his excellent company (a man you’ll never forget once met), he prepared me well for the day when, bumping and grinding down my road in his trusty Volvo, he appeared complete with my first hive and colony, my hive tool, bee book and super frames.  Enrolling me in the BBKA - a great move, was the icing on the cake and I really have never looked back.  Although still a beginner (i think you always are), I have kept my bees in good condition and happy - as far as I can tell.  Supported always by Andre’s friendly voice on hand to answer any tricky ones, I have had the most joyous time with my bees (I’m still trying to find names for them all) and relish in the thought that I am helping to support such a vital and charming animal in its sometimes perilous existence in modern Britain.

Go on.. you know you want to! 


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