Llywdd / President and Nuc Co-ordinator- Dave Roberts
How do you become a beekeeper? You start off with a pocket full of marbles. Every time you think of beekeeping, you throw away a marble and when you have lost them all …….!
I first got involved in beekeeping at school (1959) but continued thinking about bees after I left. I read all the books I could get hold of and kept thinking “shall I” then “maybe not”.
I started work but kept an interest in bees whenever possible but never took that final step. I was a forestry contractor all my working life which involved working all over the UK and Southern Ireland so there was no time for beekeeping until I packed in that side of the business.
I still found beekeeping books to read and the internet helped me to find out more about bees and keeping them. One evening I stumbled upon the SCBKA website and spotted the beginner’s course. I told my wife I was going on the course to either get it out of my system or become a beekeeper.
I am now a beekeeper and love it. I should have done it years before! I have 4 colonies but very little interest in producing a large crop of honey to sell. Just enough for the bees and me is fine. Happiness is seeing the bees emerge (from a WBC) in spring having made it through the winter.
In my nuc co-ordinator role, I try really hard to keep our bees local by linking those looking for bees with nearby sellers.
I try not to cause too much mayhem as a committee member, still do a bit of firewood selling, and am the local mole catcher in the summer months.
keeper; you know, a beekeeper with one hive at the bottom of the garden producing enough honey to cover the cost of equipment and supply family, friends and my own modest needs – yes that naïve.
A few years on and my other 30 hives which are spread over 5 apiaries between Llandrillo and Llangollen are not the result of promiscuity on the part of beekeeper or bees, more the product of a growing passion for rearing native bees, which I keep in Nationals because they are ideal for ladies of a certain age.
Having retired from a working life spent in computing and manufacturing, I enjoy my garden and my house, built in 1580 but not yet finished.
Photography, golf, playing bridge, rearing pigs and chickens, cider making and being a coffee nut all have to be squeezed in around the bees and whilst I do, still, hold a firearms certificate I am happy to shoot at paper targets and catch and release the trout in the Dee.
Ysgrifennydd / General Secretary – Lindsay Hughes
Ysgrifennydd Aelodaeth / Membership Secretary – Trish Calderbank
Programme Secretary – Jacqui Cliff
Pollinator Garden – John Beavan
I have always been a gardener, it runs in my blood and has always been my career in one way or another. Within gardening I’ve always felt a natural pull towards the food producing plants and it was through growing food that I discovered beekeeping. Since starting properly with bees in 2000 I’ve always kept upwards of 10 hives, spent years working for the NBU, travelled to a lot of European beekeeping facilities and developed a passion for teaching beekeeping to young people. I’ve worked with the SCBKA committee over the last few years to transform the teaching apiary and develop the pollinators garden at the Llysfasi site and I look forward to all we can achieve over the coming years.
Apiary Manager – Keith (Kipper) Davies
Kipper is not only on the committee for SCBKA but also the Chair of Flintshire Beekeepers Association. This year he has also taken over the role of apiary manager for SCBKA.
He has been keeping bees for over 30 years and currently manages between 25 and 30 colonies all in National boxes with brood and a half being his preferred style of management.
He is an amateur naturalist and leads walks for the Wildlife Trust. He is a licence trainer for bats.
He also owns the Coronation meadow for Flintshire. The concept of the Coronation Meadows was an idea of HRH the Prince of Wales to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his mother’s Coronation. There is one in each county in the UK.
Trysorydd / Treasurer – Alan Hodgkinson
Education Secretary – Lorraine Hodgkinson
Having both retired from long careers in healthcare management, we moved to North Wales in 2012. The house came with a good piece of land so we immediately set about establishing a large vegetable plot, erecting a greenhouse and planting a small orchard, all with
a view to becoming self sufficient in fruit and vegetables. We therefore wanted to increase the the number and variety of pollinators so set about planting useful garden shrubs and plants.
In 2015, we found a small swarm of honey bees in our hedgerow. We checked the BKA website and the local swarm collector safely removed them. He happened to be the Master Beekeeper who ran a beginners course at the National Beekeeping Centre, Wales. It was meant to be! We bought our first book – A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Beekeeping by David Cramp and were instantly engaged and inspired by the fascinating life of bees. We enrolled on the course, passed and haven’t looked back since. We got our first bees in spring 2016 and we both completed our Basic Assessment in 2017. We are keen to further our beekeeping education by studying for modules in the future.
Minutes Secretary – Cathy Williams
Beekeeping has been in my father’s family for generations and I spent many summer holidays as a child in a fragrant haze of honey and beeswax helping my aunt to extract her harvest. When she gave up beekeeping after more than 60 years, and no-one else in the family was taking it on, I decided my turn had come. Keeping bees in the flatlands of Norfolk where my aunt lived is very different from keeping them in the hills of North Wales, so I joined SBCKA and took a Beginners’ Course before acquiring my first colony in 2013. I now have a small apiary in the back garden, overlooking Moss Valley Country Park. On a sunny day can watch my bees from the kitchen window.
I usually maintain four colonies on double brood over winter and they proliferate at a great rate in spring and summer, with a good range of forage from winter heather and willow early in the year through to ivy in late autumn. Although I would like to raise AMM bees I live in an area where there are other beekeepers with different approaches to mine and my queens fly off and consort with all kinds of unsavoury types, so at the end of the season I select and keep the best queens and dispatch the rest. My bees are flourishing, giving me plenty of honey and a great deal of pleasure. I’m married to John, who is an Associate Member, and we have five adult children and a growing tribe of grandchildren. In between times I work for an educational charity and I’m a part-time chaplain at Coleg Cambria.