Posted by: kathandroger | July 30, 2012


As I was watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night I noticed a couple of beekeepers around hives and smoking equipment, reliving a scene from pre-industrial revolution rural Britain. It particularly caught my eye as just a couple of days before I’d been helping some friends with a bee problem and a gentleman dressed in exactly the same way with exactly the same equipment came to our rescue.

Regular blog readers, Pat and Tim, had noticed quite a build up of bees on one side of their roof and when dozens of them started to infiltrate the house needless to say they became rather worried. You used to be able to call the ‘pompiers’ or fire brigade here to deal with such situations, but all that has now changed and I was informed at the local Mairie that I needed to get hold of an apiculteur, or bee keeper. After a few calls I hit upon a very enthusiastic gentleman who was able to come out straight away. He and his wife duly arrived, offloaded their various bits and pieces and he was straight up on the roof to size up the problem. His wife told me they now have 30 hives and are in the process of turning bee keeping from a hobby into their job, although the poor weather this year has meant they have not yet been able to harvest any honey. Apart from honey production, their time is spent responding to problems like this one, when hopefully for them they are able to collect a new swarm for their production. She produced a photo of an enormous swarm they had recently recovered containing some 80,000 bees. Here he is in action…

This was not to be their luck day, however, as the swarm with its queen had already departed and all that was left was a few hundred bees in a state of confusion which would die naturally over a few days. Great relief for Pat and Tim however!

Back to the Olympic ceremony…what an amazing show. I’m not usually one for that type of thing, but the mix of spectacle, creativity, nostalgia and of course humour produced something truly exceptional. For once I felt truly proud to be British!

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