By Peter Folge
"The Bees Knees"
Welwyn Beekeepers Association
Having read the newsletter as far as The Hitchin Bee Centre is concerned; In my mind it is stupid for members to turn their backs on someone who wants to bring beekeeping into the public eye. In my own experience as more city/town folk spread on an ever expanding sprawl into the countryside many have no idea between a wasp, bumble bee, honey bee or hoverfly. OK this is nothing new but at the same time Hertfordshire is increasing in wealth and the public are becoming increasingly concerned in what they eat and this brings in us beekeepers. The public are becoming more aware of natural and organic products and it's health benefits.
I myself have never seen a Dartington Hive (other than a photo) and I'm sure neither have most members. I truly believe we all should see it first hand before commenting and fussing about which hive. If I had my way they would all be WBC. Hmmm - but then imagine when moving equipment. What a nightmare this would be. Therefore most of the hives I've seen are based on the National.
Of cause I'm sure members who are objecting to this project possibly are not happy with a little unbalance in the association or even in their lives. The worst thing that can be done is to cause a splinter in our organisation's structure and look in the public's eye as a totally unorganised.
Regarding time & money; I think we have it good when it comes to membership fees. (I'll still complain though). It's up to Hertfordshire's members to join in and make a little more commitment meaning - come along and introduce yourselves at local apiary meetings - nothing more required, but please make the effort, after all that's what membership is all about.
If Robin Dartington can find volunteers to run the Bee Centre, consider public safety and the allotment owners are in agreement, then why are members so worried about this project? A little more fund raising really won't go a miss, would it? Selling products from the centre would probably nearly fund the project in itself.
Let us set it up on a trial basis say 5 years funding and if we are not happy we can then consider alternatives.
Ideally I have always wanted to set up a bee breeding project in Hertfordshire. Would anyone like to commit themselves? It would not cost a thing except time and effort and a little friendly communication. Then maybe we will, like the Beekeeping Grand-Masters before us....inspect open hives on a hazy weekend afternoon in nothing more than shirt sleeves and a small puff of rolling smoke... Well, for the moment I have 2 hives exactly like this and maybe more by the end of the season?
Let us see what this weekend's Apiary tour holds for us in Welwyn.
All we need is a sunny day!