Honey bees are important in both economic and environmental terms. With a decreasing population and the United Kingdom having less than a third of the honey bee colonies needed to pollinate not just our flowers and trees, but the UK's agricultural crops, they are essential to our lives and livestock. Without pollinators we may not even be able to survive. The UK is the fourth largest importer of honey in the world and only 14 per cent of the honey consumed in the UK is produced here.
I have been learning about bee keeping for some time and completed a practical course in beekeeping early in 2017, I spend one day a week at another (elderly) beekeepers apiary being mentored and working with his bees and once a month with a bee farmer with over 200 hives again being mentored and learning all the time.
I would love to start raising my own colonies this year and through next. I have been given the use of a 30 m x 30 m secure area by a local farmer for the sole use of starting my own apiary. I am inspired and enthusiastic for more people to keep bee's no matter if they are male or female or what that persons age is. Beekeeping is rewarding and educational.
I am hoping to raise enough funding to create a two hive start-up apiary, including 2 new 'nucs' (mini hives that bees are bred in) of bees, as well as purchasing various other equipment (Frames and Foundation, what bees make honey, brood on) and queen excluder's . I do own my bee suit, smoker and hive tools.
You may think 2 hives doesn't sound like it will make much of a difference, but there's up to around 60,000 bees in each hive at peak summer times (nectar flow), in a crowded hive they will naturally want to swarm, but with appropriate management, the colonies can be effectively 'split' each time when this occurs, splitting the colonies means creating a new hive and hence more honey bees.
My new apiary would be set up at Upper Heyford, Bicester, Oxfordshire this is where I have been given the use of land and where I aim to have my hives located here.
One of the biggest reason for me to be keeping bees is not only do they create honey, but the need for pollinators and to be part of making a difference in increasing the population of bees in the UK.
Honey is generally collected at the end of the first year due to the bee numbers increasing within the hive, I would hope to get a jar to each contributor when my first honey crop is harvested.
I do hope you find this a worthy cause, and of course if you have any questions feel free to email me at ianmwilkinsonesq@gmail,com
' To men, time is money, to bees, it is honey' (Revd LL Langstroth 1810 - 1895)