I've had an interest in beekeeping for many years, but had been reluctant to take the plunge. The more I read about beekeeping, the more confused I became. Adding chemicals and medications into a food factory? It didn't make sense to me.
Then I stumbled upon Natural Beekeeping. This was a method that fitted my general ethical stance with food. After extensive reading around the subject, particularly The Barefoot Beekeeper and on the Natural Beekeeping Forum, I felt it was time to take the plunge. A lack of Natural Beekeepers in my area meant I would be beginning alone, but the level of support from the forum is second to none and gave me the confidence to go ahead. That was 2009 and I've never regretted the decision.
I have given talks to a number of local beekeepers and mentored beginners locally. I've found that talking to others has reinforced what I have learned to date and encouraged me to continue learning.
After accepting early retirement from my employer, I needed to keep myself busy. I enjoyed building hives and wanted to encourage others to try Natural Beekeeping for themselves. Having built around 50 hives in two years I have developed an allergy to wood dust which means I've had to give this up.
While building hives I have spoken to groups of beginner beekeepers and my local Beekeepers Association about the pros & cons and some of the methods used in Natural Beekeeping and explained the concept and differences with "conventional" beekeeping to groups. I have also delivered talks at the "National Natural Beekeeping unConference" in 2013 and the "Northern Natural Beekeeper's Gathering" in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was involved in organizing the "Gatherings". I have occasionally worked alongside Phil Chandler (The Barefoot Beekeeper) during his training courses at Brinscall Hall. It seemed a natural progression to take this further by offering talks to audiences who are interested in Natural Beekeeping and also those who are interested in hearing something a little different.
I would like to see beekeeping return to the state it was in during the 18th century: many homes having a few cheap, hives that are easily constructed from locally sourced materials and providing honey for their neighbourhood. I believe the top-bar fulfills this requirement. The missing link is then the knowledge needed to capture a swarm of honeybees and keep them successfully. This has led me to offer Natural Beekeeping training courses for beginners and to introduce Natural Beekeeping to more experienced beekeepers.
I am also happy to facilitate discussions for more advanced groups and offer what knowledge I have.
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