A day of learning, laughing and sharing, our beekeeping course was a great success. For many of our students, it was their first time being around bees, so we needed to make sure they were feeling fully comfortable and familiarized with these animals before we suited and booted up and ventured into the vineyards to see where they are kept.
In the morning, we gave a series of talks by our lovely beekeepers Pete and Bill, who introduced our audience to bees. We learnt how to set up your hives, the politics within a hive, what to do if bees swarm and much more. It was really fascinating hearing such an expert talk with immense passion about bees and to hear their inspiring stories on how they both got into beekeeping.
After an intellectual morning, our students were itching and ready to go. As we began walking towards the hives I was curious as to how our new beekeepers were feeling. Many said they had never done this before, that their partners had bought it for them as a present or that they had bees in the past, however, wanted to learn more on how to best look after and give back to bees. The impression I got, from the couple of apprehensive giggles I heard and the exchanges of anticipation, I got the sense that there was a mixture of both excitement and nervousness. I think before you fully understand bees, they can often seem quite intimidating, maybe even thought of as these invasive insects to be feared, however, as our guests soon learnt, this was not the case.
The beehives here are kept in an enclosed vineyard with the only access being through a cute little red door to the vineyard.
I remember thinking to myself, what a lovely place the bees live in. Their hives are situated against an imposing white wall shielding them from outside threats. The bees share their garden with three chirpy chickens who waltz around the array of apple trees, almost acting like the guards to the vineyard. It felt very peaceful there.
Immediately, I understood the appeal of beekeeping. Watching how the beekeeper interacted with the bees was fascinating to watch. Bill spoke about energy and how your own energy as a beekeeper must be calm and mirror their elegance and gentleness in order for you both to co-exist within a space. I really did get a sense of their energy as I stood near the hives. They almost felt like your companions as you saw them flying and landing all over your bee suits.
I even got them landing on my camera.. apparently they are mostly attracted to black colours.
Pete talked us through each step of beekeeping, how to use the smoke machine, about how the bees make the honey, what environments the bees like, and how best to keep them warm in winter.
It was really a day fully of lots of insightful knowledge. It was great seeing people from all over the country bonding over their interest and curiosity in bees.
People’s perception of bees definitely changed after this course and I think it highlighted the sheer mightiness these small creatures possess.
“Bees are smarter than I thought” and “I find bees so much more cute now” people told me after our walk back from the hives.
Overall, the course brought together all those passionate about bees and revealed the magnificent knowledge that bees hold, how hard they work within their hives and how we can help give back to bees and our environment. In my opinion, I found it amazing how even though they are always right in front of me, before working with Beeble, I didn’t know nearly enough about them.
Now I too am fully addicted to knowing everything about bees.