Thursday, 11 February 2010

To Bee or Not To Bee

We've just finished a really interesting course at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA).

Some years ago now, when I mentioned "chickens" to my DH,  he was really not impressed and was adamant that there would be No Chickens Here.  I mentioned bees as an alternative (not meaning it at all) and, to my surprise, he said he wouldn't mind bees.

As it happens, I got the chickens.  We have said, in passing and only occasionally, that bees might be the next step. (Not sure where the steps were meant to be going!).    

Then I saw a Bee Keeping Taster Session being advertised at BCA. I booked us on taster session last September,  expecting that I'd come away thinking "interesting, yes; will I do it? - no.).   To my surprise, I found it quite interesting.    We signed up for the introductory course, which started in January.

Every week, I found myself getting more interested.  Reg (40+ years experience) and Kate (10 years experience), who run the course, really love their bees, and their enthusiasm is infectious.
Each week, I came away saying, I really enjoyed that, but I'm still not sure I'd do it really.

This week was the last week of the course.  The week before, I tried to pinpoint why I wasn't in the "when can I get my Nuc of bees" frame of mind.   I eventually managed to get it out as "I don't know if I want another entity of things to be responsible for".  Siting the bees,  and the routine checks, and the busy time at peak season, aren't a problem.  Going away isn't a problem.   It's just another species of things to have to consider.

Last week we were debating whether or not to sign up for the practical course.  On a cost-per-student-per-week it's really good value.  But when there are two of you doing it, and paying up front,  it seems quite expensive - especially when we relate the cost of the course to the cost of setting up our own hive.   However, we've decided it will be a good investment.   Apart from the obvious benefit of  learning from experts, there is one fundamental thing it will help with:  can we cope with the bees themselves?!

If we can't cope, or we can but don't really want to, then we will have saved ourselves the cost and upheaval (not to mention saving the bees the disruption) of getting our own bees.  And if we do get on OK with it? We'll be able to make a fully informed decision on whether to go ahead with our own hive. Or not.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a well thought out plan of action to me. You are very wise to consider carefully all that is involved before you make the leap. That goes for most things. It is so easy to fall for a cute little puppy or kitten and not realize the cost in time, etc.