Kit Hill Beekeepers get a training apiary – with help from Tamar AONB The Kit Hill Beekeepers are a group within the Cornwall Bee Keepers Association (CBKA), currently celebrating its centenary. Most of you will know us from the Callington Honey Fair, but might not realise that we do more than just collect and show honey. One of the charters of the CBKA is to provide education and training for prospective beekeepers and people interested in the welfare of pollinators. The Kit Hill group had been on the lookout for a suitable site for some years, and having obtained a good south facing site courtesy of a Group member, and accepting that we could not fund it all ourselves, we approached the CBKA for some start-up money. Which funded the group with its initial outlay of buying a mix of new and second hand hives, together with some temporary storage to enable us to get the bees up and running. Longer term, we needed additional funds for a more permanent shed/workshop that can be used for training, meetings and secure storage.
Meanwhile, we’d been busy creating the stands for the new hives. Beehives need to be kept up off the ground, fooling the bees into thinking that they’re in a nice warm tree trunk. Two “national hives” (the British Standard for equipment) and one polystyrene nucleus breeding centre were set up. Bees do very well in polystyrene homes; they also like a place to live that is warm, well insulated, draught free and low maintenance!
Tamar Valley ANOB approved our grant application for funding from their Sustainable Development Fund to finance a Group meeting and storage shed in the apiary. By the autumn we had around a dozen keepers of a variety of skill levels regularly inspecting and managing the bees. As the beekeepers 2018 season drew to a close, the Group Apiary Shed was completed, and the equipment was moved from the Group Members “Man Cave”, where it had been stored temporarily. All our bees survived over the winter, meaning that the apiary is now well established and set fair to continue our education programme through 2019 and beyond. Already we’ve been able to breed a new queen and establish an extra colony to add to the skills of the ‘keepers involved.
If you’d like to know more about beekeeping in the area, the work of the Cornwall Beekeepers Association, or what you might be able to do for pollinators in your own garden, please get in touch via email@example.com