Visitors to Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum were buzzing after they came face to face with tens of thousands of bees – for fun!
Would-be beekeepers and members of the public simply interested in finding out more about working with nature enrolled on a beginners’ beekeeping course, led by Sheffield Honey Company owner Jez Daughtry, who keeps his hives on the museum’s roof.
Jez, who set up his honey producing business three years ago and now exports products as far afield as the Middle East and Japan, tends to 10 hives at the museum and expects to have around 500,000 bees ‘at work’ over the summer.
He organised the course to give aspiring beekeepers the chance to get up close to a hive and to demonstrate the amount of work and responsibilty that goes into keeping one.
Jez – who admits he gets stung dozens of times a week – said the event was an eye-opener for beginners and some are now considering taking up beekeeping as a hobby.
The event is to be repeated next month.
Jez, who worked in IT before he switched to beekeeping three years ago after being made redundant, said: “Weston Park Museum has an observational hive, where visitors can get up close to the bees from behind a glass screen, but this beginners course takes it a step beyond that and people get hands on experience of beekeeping.
“My neighbour used to let me help him with his hive when I was younger so I had always been interested in beekeeping. When I was made redundant three years ago I saw a gap in the market and went for it and now have 10 hives.
“Those on the course were provided with all the protective clothing needed and got to go right up to the hives and were given practical hands-on experience of what exactly is involved.
“The idea is to give people a taster before they go out and buy all the equipment needed to set up.
“Those involved will never forget the experience, and I think a couple may be thinking of taking up beekeeping now, which is fantastic.”
Heather Variend, of Broomhill, who enrolled on the course with her daughter, said: “I enrolled on the course because my brother is a hobby beekeeper so I wanted to find out more about it and the course was superb for that – very educational.
“I was wonderfully calm considering all the bees swarming around me.”