August was the month that we got our own hive up at Hive & Keeper HQ. It’s been a year since I’ve had my own bees and I’ve missed them. I find beekeeping totally preoccupying but also nerve racking being around 50,000 bees who are wired to protect their colony and home from any threats – which includes me! But having said that, when they do let you catch glimpses of how they live it’s worth the nerves!
Every colony of bees has a different temperament which is determined by their genetics passed down from the Queen and the drones she will have mated with. If she mated with a nice, gentle, laid back drone then chances are the offspring will be the same. The beekeeper I bought my colony from said they were a gentle colony and easy to handle – I think he might have had them when the good drone’s genes were flying high as they don’t seem so nice now… The Queen mates with about 20 drones on a mating flight before returning to the colony and laying eggs for the rest of her life, so it’s quite possible that she also mated with a nastier drone and now it’s his turn to influence the genetics. My bees are very good at guarding their hive and come up to me with a very determined buzz and eyeball me. The good part of this is that they’re ballsy enough to see off any wasps trying to rob them of honey and feel like fighters and survivors which is what you want going into a Yorkshire winter. And of course I’ve got an enormous bee suit that’s for an XXXL man so the material keeps them along way away from my skin (I remind myself of that a lot!).