My Dad's Bees (A Practice Run) / by Andrew Wilson

Recently I took a trip to my parent's place in North Wales, and while I was there I took some photos of my Dad's bees. For years my Dad has been interested in keeping bees, so this year he decided to take the plunge. He started off by taking a course earlier in the year through the Anglesey Beekeeper's Association (check out their site for information on courses and activities - and received further tuition from a member of this assocation. The knowledge and help he received was invaluable for when he eventually received his bees this summer. He's been pleasantly surprised of neighbours being supportive of him doing this as he was expecting people to be unhappy about a hive being nearby.

The hive (left) alongside a green storage box/workspace and a jug with a shallow water supply for the bees (if needed).


The hives entrance is placed towards the bottom just above the ramp.


Here's what my Dad had to say about his interest in keeping bees:

"It's a combination of things really. There's the green perspective, being altruistic and helping pollinate local plants, but also for slightly selfish reasons as I love honey! I also find it thought provoking to be dealing with an interesting species that are older than our own. I'm interested in them as impressive insects and what they are able to do, humbled by the way they work together to build colonies."  

The entrance to the hive.

It's a fascinating subject and I thought it would make for a good photo story. I wanted to get a cross section of images, including my Dad working away at the hive, but as he didn't want to disturb them and there was a fair bit for me to take in, we decided this time would serve as a practice run.

One of the tools for bee keeping - a smoker. Smoke will be directed towards the area that wants to be cleared for working. One theory is that it replicates a possible forest fire and that the bees will move to other areas of the hive and gather food and nectar. This can make them less aggressive too.

Wearing the suit and getting used to the presence of inquisitive bees near the hive took some getting used to. I found it uncomfortable to have them buzzing around my head as the natural reaction would be to move away. This may not have bothered me so much had I complete trust in the suit, but knowing my Dad had recently been stung on his cheek whilst wearing the suit, with no idea how the bee got inside, initially made me feel a bit paranoid. Eventually I got used to it and got some shots of the entrance of the hive.


My Dad's bee suit.


My Dad in his suit.

Me, in the suit, in my parents garden. The hive is in the centre of the background.

As the bees won't be as active over the winter I now plan to come back to this sometime in Spring next year. For now I hope you enjoyed this preview and thanks for reading. Please be sure to sign up to my newsletter below to stay updated for future blogs!