Bee is looking for beekeeper!

After the Hortus’s “Vriendenbericht” came out this spring I received an email from Hortus beekeeper Hugo van Rossem. His article “Bijproat” (bee speak) was nicely formatted and printed in the magazine, but unfortunately his last name was spelled wrong. And that was annoying. I offered my excuses and asked if I could make it up to him by offering him a cup of coffee and a treat. Hugo found that a generous offer, but suggested an alternative: “Wietske, why don’t you take a beekeeping course?” Hugo had a good reason to try to get me to take this course. Namely, he could use some help. His beekeeping partner Johan Ebbers is now 89 and can’t do the work he used to. It is high time for new beekeepers to care for the honeybees in the Hortus.

I imagine parties where I tell my friends and family about my new beekeeping hobby. Sounds sexy. Still I suppress my inclination and enthusiasm for signing up for a course. Because a course is one thing. After the course it begins in earnest: spring inspection, comb renewal, swarm control, breeding, collecting honey, varroa control, maintenance of hives, travel to heather or rapeseed fields… Before you know it a colony vanishes, or there are too many colonies for an area and it is necessary to combine colonies.

At the beginning of July I asked Hugo if he had found anyone to help him out. And! This spring 24 people started the beekeeping course of Beekeeping Association Haren Paterswolde. They receive theoretical instruction at AOC Terra in Eelde and practice at three locations, including the Hortus. Two of the participants hope to keep bees here at the Hortus after the course. During the National Open Beekeeping Days Hugo and a number of the students gave visitors an introduction to bees. That is also part of Hortus beekeeping: public education.

My help doesn’t seem to be needed for the time being. I will have to settle for a less sexy existence.

 

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