The club bees go on holiday…

We have now completed the temporary apiary move requested by the National Trust and for at least a couple of seasons we will be operating from the Kennels paddock area at Shugborough.

The National Trust have supplied us with electricity, a water supply and even our own toilet facilities (portaloo) to make life a bit more luxurious.

To move the bees from our old apiary to the new site we sent them on holiday to our Hilton Green apiary for a couple of weeks during November.

This was to ensure that they didn’t wander back to the old location by mistake.

The club bees at Hilton Green Holiday Camp

The club would like to say a big thank you to Chris and Alan Brewin, Clive Stewart, Chris Shaw, Phil Atkin and the all the teams members who made this happen.

Work party members take a welcome break…

Another big thank you is due to Woody Woodward and her catering team who supplied tea and cakes to the members who came along to help with the big move. Thank you to you all.

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

Social Events in 2021

Last year, the association held two very successful social events.

In August more than 50 club members gathered together in the poly tunnel at Hilton Green to enjoy a grand summer BBQ.

It was the first time that members had gathered together since 2019 so there was a lot of catching up to do.

Then in November, we held our Honey Bees and Hornets winter social at Shareshill
Village Hall. This was also a great success.

A big thank you to all those members who supported these events.
Look out for more exciting club socials coming later this year

A message from the National Trust

As the General Manager for the Shugborough Estate, it’s my job to ensure that everything runs smoothly day to day, and also to plan for the long term future of the estate, balancing access and conservation and conserving the estate for future generations.

We have a lot of changes planned over the next few years and we are going to need some patience and understanding from you while we enact them – they are complex and varied and will take time to settle down.

However this creates exciting opportunities too, and we have factored the future of your apiary in to that, meaning that in a few years’ time we will be able to provide the bees with a new orchard home and your students access to training rooms.

I know that your apiary, and the teaching aspect of it, have been at Shugborough for a long time and I look forward to continuing to work with you to secure its future here.

Best wishes
Hayley Miva, General Manager, National Trust

The Story of the Amazing Travelling Shed…

The expensive new shed was half built when we got the news from the National Trust that the apiary had to move. Alan Brewin was distraught at the thought of dismantling the shed and putting it back together again…

A plan was hatched and with a lot of help from Rosie’s husband Paul, (known as Kenty – see photo on right), his trailer and some willing volunteers, the big move was on.
In no time at all the shed was manhandled onto the trailer.

But, would it go through the narrow gap between the garden wall and the railings?

Very gingerly Kenty inched the trailer carrying its precious cargo around the wall. It made it, but only just. Phew that was a close thing…

It was then on to its new location at the Kennels, where it lifted off the trailer and placed into position ready to serve the club, keeping all our beekeeping kit safe and dry.

Alan Brewin was mighty relieved to see the shed arrive in one piece. A big thank you to Kenty and everybody involved for an amazing job.