We can finally reveal all.

All the secrecy, the hushed-up meetings, the furtive whispers behind closed doors.  All the knowing nods and winks and nudges are now over.

WE HAVE BEE HIVES!

Now, thanks to Anna and Jez from Groundwork Sheffield, and a huge amount of work done by Diane and our tireless volunteers, we have no less than six hives right down in the bottom of our Orchard Plot, well away from the road and possible encounters with pedestrians and passers-by.

Diane and Matt went on the ‘taster’ course last Thursday, and I will be accompanying them to the full two day course this Wednesday and Thursday over at Wood Lane Countryside Centre just up the road from Hillsborough.

Over recent times, we have ‘idly’ speculated during our tea breaks that wouldn’t it be great to have ‘a hive’ on our allotment?  It would guarantee that our crops were pollenated and we may even get the odd pot of honey, if the hive could spare it.

Well, a few months ago, we noticed in The Sheffield Star newspaper that the odd story kept surfacing about how British bees were in decline for a whole host of reasons and that The British Beekeeper’s Association were keen to promote a ‘whole new generation’ of beekeepers.

Part of this came Sheffield’s way in the form of ‘Bee Buddies’.  This is a ‘sponsored’ beekeeping program.

Eligible sites were sought around Sheffield and the owners or tenants of the sites were then offered free two hour ‘taster’ sessions as an introduction into the art of beekeeping then an intensive two-day course to reveal more of the secrets of the ‘craft’ of keeping bees.

Well, we had to sign up!

Fortunately, our site was pretty much ideal, and after a full site inspection, it was agreed that we should be one of the ‘chosen’ places.

One of the new hives.

One of the new hives.

Today, Jez brought six hives -five smaller ones and one larger one.  This photo shows one of the smaller ones ready to be placed on its crate before the bees were let out.

The hives in position, and the bees released.

The hives in position, and the bees released.

To the right here, you can see all six hives, the larger one being the one on the right of the picture.

Of course, when we’ve been on the full two day course, I’ll be able to tell you what they are called and what the differences between them are.

You can see in this photo the screening we installed yesterday evening in the background.  This serves two purposes.  Firstly to try to ‘steer’ the bees in the right direction and secondly to minimise any danger to the plot-holder who has the end plot beyond ours as this is the main pathway into his plot.

When Jez released all the entrances to the hives, he certainly showed a great turn of speed away from them!  Given that they had been ‘locked up’ in their hives then had quite a bumpy journey on the back of Jez’s trailer to get down to The Plots, we guess they were not too happy!

Close-up of the larger hive.

Close-up of the larger hive.

Here you can see a final shot of the larger hive with the ‘front door’ open.

As you can imagine, this shot was taken with the zoom on my camera set to ‘maximum’!

Jez will be returning tonight, this time wearing the full bee-proof suit to fully inspect the hives and to make sure that everything has gone according to plan.

As I previously mentioned, he’ll be coming by once a week now for the full year to fully check and monitor their progress.

Anyway, I’d better ‘buzz’ off.  I’m seeing just how long it takes to nearly flatten a car battery with 150 Watts worth of 12 volt lamps.

(…Sorry!  I just had to get just the one bee joke in there.  I’d been buzzting a gut trying to keep them all in…)

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