There has been a surge of interest in beekeeping in recent years. This absorbing pastime can equally be suitable for a city garden as an allotment or country estate!
Having a generous supply of liquid treasure in the form of golden honey is definitely part of the appeal, and it is possible to get some honey in your first year if you start in the spring. There has also been a lot of public concern over the decline in British bee populations, which include the honeybee. As there are hardly any honeybees living in the wild it is only human intervention and management that will ensure their survival.
Learning to keep bees is fundamentally about managing a wild organism – though this organism is made up of thousands of individual - potentially stinging - insects! A good beekeeper understands the natural behaviour of the bees in his/her care and works with it. So how long does it take to become a good beekeeper? Some would say a lifetime, and in some ways this is true. Beekeeping requires a combination of skill, knowledge and practice, like playing a musical instrument – and the more you do it the more you improve. What we offer you on a Tiger Hall beekeeping course is a good solid grounding in the basics, which will set you off on the right path, just like playing an instrument.
Our philosophy is based on active learning – that is learning by doing rather than passive listening. We keep lecture style sessions to an absolute minimum. Rather, on your first morning you will be kitted out in a suit veil and gloves and looking into a real hive of live bees. If it’s your first time it can feel a bit daunting. Participants soon forget that because they are so fascinated by what they see.
Each day is broken down into sessions with clearly defined topics and objectives. The emphasis is always on the practical implications of the theory – there’s not much point in knowing why bees swarm unless you understand what you as the beekeeper should do about it!
To ensure individual attention, and plenty of opportunity for questions, classes are small – a maximum of 10. Many of our ‘students’ have gone home and successfully set up their own apiaries after the course. We also uniquely offer follow- up advice, which enables you to contact the tutor for clarification on anything you need.
Charles Millar the course tutor has been keeping bees for 12 years. He is well acquainted with the problems and pitfalls beginners encounter – either as direct first hand experience with his own bees, or he has seen it on his rounds as a government bee inspector. As a result the course has been specifically designed to address the practicalities of starting to keep bees as simply and clearly as possible. 100% of our students would recommend the course to other beginners.
• Courses are held at Tiger Hall, Church Stretton, Shropshire. 4 are planned for 2011.
• Church Stretton is in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bring your spouse/partner and make a short break of it.
• Course fee of £325 includes all equipment, lunch and plenty of tea and cake on both days
• For full details, and to book, see website: www.BeekeepingCourses.co.uk