The Trust applied for and was fortunate to receive a grant from the Jean Jackson Trust which enabled us to purchase two bee hives and associated equipment to start out on our bee keeping experience.
Two members of staff attended a one day’s introduction to Bee Keeping at Acton Scott Working Farm where they were able to learn about the honey bee, be given helpful advice on what hive and equipment to purchase and the best place to site the apiary. This introduction was then followed by a six week beginners course run by Shropshire Bee Keeper’s Association.
Full of enthusiasm and armed with theoretical knowledge the Trust purchased two WBC hives and set about siting the hives in a sunny, sheltered spot near to the Trust Office. The next step was to actually get some bees!!
We were fortunate to be given a swarm from a local beekeeper – this was duly installed into our newly built hive. However, it soon became apparent that we had lost the queen and the bees were busy building emergency queen cells. This was a worrying time as we were unsure whether our little colony would survive. We kept a watchful eye on the hive over the next few weeks anxiously looking for any signs of a new queen or brood in the frames. So it was with great relief when we were rewarded with our first sight of the queen.
Two of the Trust’s volunteers are keen beekeepers and under their guidance we have been regularly inspecting the hive to check on the colony’s health and see how they are increasing in numbers. We started too late in the year for us to be able to extract any honey from our hive but we are hopeful that we will be able to do this next year and maybe expand into another hive.