In the SPOTLIGHT – Committee Member Clive Stewart

Q1. How long have you been a beekeeper?
A. For approximately 22 years now.

Q2. Why did you become a beekeeper?
A. I always had a fascination for bees from as far back as I can remember, but a chance holiday to Mablethorpe had me take up beekeeping as a hobby.

Q3. What is your favourite bit of beekeeping kit?
A. My fold up bucket. It takes up no space in the van, and I don’t forget to put it in as it is always there.

Q4. How many bee suits do you have?
A. I have lost count, probably somewhere between 10 and 15?

Q5. What is your proudest beekeeping moment?
A. My first talk on bee removal at Stafford Bee group.

Q6. Do you have a favourite pair of socks?
A. Black Russian Navy socks from Army Surplus store in Ripley.

Q7. Who is your beekeeping hero or heroine?
A. I don’t really have one, but do have a great admiration for those that share their knowledge and experiences without prejudice. I like the works of Brother Adam, Clive de Bruyn and also enjoy listening to the likes of Anne Chilcott, Prof. Tom Seeley and Michael Palmer.

Q8. What beekeeping disasters have you had?
A. Too many to list, but I do not look at them as disasters, more like life lessons, because you never stop learning and disasters just make us better beekeepers

Q9. Which aspect of beekeeping do you like best?
A. Spring inspections. After the long winter months there is nothing more pleasurable than opening a hive on a warm spring day, as the trees, plants, birds and bees begin to come to life.

Q10. What is your least favourite beekeeping job?
A. Any job that involves honey, extracting and even jarring up. I know, I know, it sounds odd, but I so hate getting sticky.

Q11. If you didn’t keep bees, would you be a campanologist or a Morris dancer?
A. Mmm… Neither really ring my bell or have me waving my handkerchief with excitement. I’m having cold sweats just trying to think of an alternative.

Q12. What would be your best bit of beekeeping advice?
A. Take your time and enjoy it.

Q13. What would your last meal be?
A. I like food! So it is difficult for me to say one thing, but when I think about it, rabbit stew the way my mum would make it….

Q14. What is your favourite bit of a bee?
A. The sting… Ironically, I have a lot of respect for that part.

Q15. When you think about your bees, what makes you smile?
A. How bees have become the reason I get out of bed in the morning.

Q16. Do you like honey?
A. No.

Q17. What annoys you about bees (apart from the stings)?
A. Honey! it’s so sticky

Q18. Do you talk to your bees?
A. Yes, and I talk to everyone’s bees as well as my own.

Q19. How often are you asked to stop talking about bees?
A. Having a job like mine, all people want to do is talk bees, but I don’t have a problem with that.

Q20. Do you prefer sweet or savoury nibbles?
A. No real preference, it’s food and I like food.

Q21. What other interests do you have besides beekeeping?
A. Narrowboats, they are so relaxing and if I ever retire, it’s where I want to be.

Q22. Who would you like to inspect a hive with?
A. Richard Branson, Alan Sugar or Deborah Meaden. People in business fascinate me.

Q23. What sums up your attitude to bees and beekeeping?
A. There is no right or wrong way in beekeeping, only the way that suits you and your lifestyle. However, having dealt with a lot of bees in buildings in my work, I do believe in practising responsible beekeeping