At the October meeting we welcomed former Essex girl Stacy Cronly-Dillon who gave us an excellent presentation on Beekeeping.
Stacey’s interest in nature was first nurtured by her grandad who was a warden at a local Essex nature reserve. Fast forward 30 plus years and having experienced the stress of corporate life, Stacey quit the rat race and trained as a beekeeper, beginning with just 2 hives of bees. She found herself re connecting with nature and was so enamoured of her new profession that she acquired 25 colonies of bees within 2 years.
Now living in Norfolk, Stacy gave us a lively account of her bee keeping experiences, studded with many surprising facts: bees won’t fly in cold weather, (under 7 degrees C), as they would use up too much energy. They fan their wings in the hive during hot weather to keep the hive at a constant temperature. Bees prefer open flowers such as fruit blossom and choose yellow, pink or blue flowers over red. The queen bee never leaves the hive after mating and can live up to 5 years, laying eggs throughout. The worker bees (all females), live up to 6 months in the winter, but when pollen and nectar become available in the warmer weather, their life span is just 6 weeks. They are worn out, sleeping for just 1 hour a day in 30 second snatches.
We gardeners can help bees by growing a wide variety of plants to produce flowers throughout the year. Flowering bulbs and shrubs are especially useful in the spring and a flowering dandelion is the bees’ delight in any season. Ivy flowers, although they smell unpleasant to us are good source of bee fuel at this time of year.
Stacy obviously enjoys bee keeping and radiates enthusiasm – a truly inspiring speaker.