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An Introduction to Beekeeping

Saturday 5 May 2018 10:00 - Monday 7 May 2018 16:30

Beekeeping cSteve Marsh - 685 x 295

Photo: Steve Marsh

Learn the rudiments of this all-absorbing craft and how to nurture an insect that is crucial to us and our planet.

People have collected honey for millennia and kept bees for hundreds of years. Fifty years ago, all you needed was a stray swarm, protection against stings and a suitable site to set up a hive. Now that we humans have introduced pests from abroad it is a lot harder to keep our bees healthy, happy and productive.

The course is a practical one. As well as learning about the fascinating lifestyle of the honey bee, you will get guidance in managing a whole colony. You will learn how to deal with stings, collect a swarm and harvest honey. You will gain a realistic idea of what is required of a beekeeper: the commitment, skills and equipment needed, how much it costs and how to keep your bees healthy. You will learn a bit of carpentry and, weather permitting, will observe and handle bees in a hive. Pollination will be demonstrated by flowers in the lovely Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve. We will also hear from Steve Marsh, a new beekeeper, who will share his experience of his first year. A honey tasting is included in the course.

A weekend may be too short to gain the confidence to keep your own bees, but you will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and to discuss whether this is a journey you wish to take. If so, you will be welcomed into the friendly world of beekeeping.

Caroline Dilke has kept bees for 13 years. She is currently chair of the West Dorset Beekeepers’ Association and is lead tutor for their course for new beekeepers. Caroline also runs a popular after-school club in beekeeping for primary school children. In a former life she was a biology teacher, then later a writer and journalist.

Prices: Resident: £290 pp includes 2 nights sole occupancy accommodation, full board including a home-cooked breakfast, tea/cake, lunch and 3 course dinner, all tuition/activities. Non- Residential: £210 pp includes all of the above except accommodation and breakfast.

Times: Arrive 9:45am for morning tea. The course will start at 10am. The course will end after lunch on Monday.

What to bring: A notebook, a small hammer, a pair of clean wellies and some Marigold-type rubber gloves. Bee suits will be provided. Please do not wear perfume, hair spray or deodorant.

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