Phoebe here, your friendly neighbourhood beekeeper! Or, more accurately; beekeeper’s apprentice.
We’re arguably in that glorious period between Spring and Summer, and 2017 so far has been great for bees! The extended periods of warm dry weather have meant that foragers have been able to get out and about in fields, hedgerows, forests and gardens, bringing in nectar and pollen. However, the odd spot of rain is good too, as a lot of plants won’t produce nectar during lengthy dry spells.
The colonies at Freedom have been hard at work visiting flowers within the vicinity of the brewery – of which there are many! The wooded areas provide plenty of pollen from tree flowers such as Horse Chestnut and Alder, while the arable farmland is a sea of yellow – oilseed rape is very good for bees indeed.
I can’t say how lucky I feel to be a part of Freedom’s scheme to sponsor a young beekeeper to take care of their bees in such a lovely part of Staffordshire, England. I’ve only been keeping bees (under the watchful eyes of my mentor) since 2015, but already I’ve learned so much and really developed a passion for the craft.
The apprenticeship runs for three years, and is open to young people aged 16 – 23. It came about due to the urgent demand for new beekeepers in the UK – did you know that the average age of British beekeepers is 66!? So between them, the British Bee Farmers’ Association and Rowse Honey laid plans to introduce an apprenticeship scheme, allowing young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to join existing honey farms up and down the UK.
I was fortunate enough to win a place, and teamed up with Staffordshire Honey and Freedom Brewery – and was set to work. It is easily the best job I have ever had – plenty of time in the great outdoors teamed with animal husbandry, woodwork, food production and local sales has made it a multi-faceted and endlessly interesting career path!
Aside from learning on the job I’ve attended numerous courses and workshops to improve my understanding of the world of bees and social insects, alongside world class mentoring and even the opportunity to travel abroad!
Do you know anyone aged 16 – 23 who might consider a career in bee farming? Visit Rowse Honey for information on how you can get involved in this fabulous scheme – because British bees need beekeepers!
Stay tuned until next time for more news from the Freedom Brewery Bees!