If you’re a follower of our social media pages then you might have noticed that, as part of the ‘Grow It, Fix It’ project, we have an apiary. This is an area in which beehives are kept. Amazingly three of our trustees are beekeepers, so we’re picking up tips and tricks and being taught the proper methods to keep our little friends happy.
We’ve had our colony since May and have learnt lots about the upkeep of honeybees. They are complex critters with a fascinating dynamic and play an important role in our ecosystem. Each colony has a Queen Bee, which lives between 3 to 5 years, who oversees everything, and all bees have specific roles to ensure the success of the hive. Colonies consist of 20 to 60 thousand bees which are 10% drones, these are the male bees whose sole purpose is to mate with the Queen Bee, and 90% worker bees, which are all female and take on multiple roles during their short lifetime including cleaner, nurse/caretaker and forager.
Thanks to our Trustee, Bob, we’ve harvested our first batch of honey! The bees produced 17 jars, which were available to volunteers and staff in return for a donation, and next year we’re hoping to make them available to the general public to support our fundraising endeavours. We’ve even used it for one of our Lunch Club desserts.
It’s been extremely rewarding to see the journey of our flying friends, from their first day in the hive to having produced their first batch of honey. But the colony will be hunkering down for the winter soon, having built up their own supply of honey to see them through the colder months and we’ll make less frequent visits until spring comes around.