New President, Mike English, welcomed 30 members and 1 guest to our lunch on February 8th. Those members who weren’t able to join us on this occasion missed out on a fascinating and very informative talk given by Peter Wood. Peter’s subject was ‘Beekeeping’ and he appeared dressed for the part!
As a beekeeper of 45 years experience and as a Past President of IOM Beekeepers who better to give us the insight and lowdown on the fascination and importance of bees? Judging by a record number of questions both during and at the end of his talk Peter certainly entertained, stimulated and educated us thoroughly and he even provided some of his honey to taste. Here’s just a few of the points he made:
Bees – 3 types (solitary, bumble and honey) – honey bees outnumbered 250-1 – honey bees range 2-3 miles – they live for 6 weeks in summer but 6 months in winter
IOM beekeeping – some 150 beekeepers all trying to keep the island bees disease resistant and return the stock to a pure strain (black bees) – island bees exported to areas in UK affected by the varroa disease
Peter’s has 12 colonies each with c. 60,000 bees and last year was his best ever probably as a result of the late spring. Beekeeping year runs from Sept to August - Queen bee lays eggs in late January (bees in hive do ‘shoulder rolls’ to keep the hive warm!) - bees busy collecting pollen, nectar, and propolis (gum) late spring – TT week is usual time for swarming – summer to early autumn is honey collection time and then September replacement of taken honey with sugar syrup sees the start of the next cycle.
However beekeeping is a very challenging hobby as the honey bees haven’t read the same textbooks as the beekeepers!
Our next lunch will take place at Ramsey Golf Club, 12.30pm for 1.00pm, on Wednesday 8th March 2017. The speaker will be Dr Fenella Bazin who is an eminent Manx historian specialising in Viking matters and a regular lecturer on cruise boats along the Norwegian coast. The subject of her talk is “Innovation in a Viking Age”.