We have been so fortunate in the selection of our speakers and our latest speaker was just as interesting. Once again we learnt so much, this time the subject was about the life of bees and bee keeping. The presenter was the local bee keeper, Penny Forsyth and she demonstrated her love of bees and gave account of her history and of her continual exploration into beekeeping sometimes at the more remote parts of the world. We discovered a few insights including such facts as the Pharaohs had honey placed in their mouths to feed them and sweeten their passage into the afterlife. In the middle ages a bee hive was a formidable weapon when dropped over the ramparts onto the enemy. It seems that when a person is stung this sting gives off aggressive pheromones which attract more bees who try to protect the hive . To remove honey from the hive a smoker is used to pacify the bees. The smoke makes the bees think the hive is about to be burnt so they eat as much of the honey as they can to enable them to start a new hive, but as long as the amount of smoke is not too much the amount of honey they actually consume only makes them drowsy, resulting therefore in the beekeeper being protected. Bees do not like smells of sweaty bodies, the smell of alcohol or perfume, so next summer I must be careful in the garden when I relax with a well earned drink after mowing the lawn! A sad aspect is that a bee will die as it leaves its poison sack behind unlike the wasp so the bee is reluctant to sting; to reduce the pain of any bee sting the whole sack must be removed as soon as possible as it keeps pumping the poison into its victim. Bees are so important in pollinating our crops that we depend on them to help produce most of our food …. so don’t squash them if you are lucky see one later this year – they have a lot of work to do for us. Bees can suffer from stress like us and keepers must respect their hive by not suddenly surprising them and by keeping the hive at the correct temperature year round.
If you would like to join us at our next meeting when we will go “ Behind the Vicarage Door “with Rev. Canon Tony Kerswill then please Google Retford Men’s Probus or ring Chris on 01777838421