This post isn’t going to be about Gambia!
I’ve just had a Facebook conversation with our son. He has got bees in his garage and wants to know what to do. I used to keep bees in the UK but haven’t organised any hives since arriving in The Gambia. It was my intention to make a few top bar hives and try and lure some colonies into residence but, somehow, I haven’t got around to it.
Should I direct him to http://www.beesfordevelopment.org who promote a natural style of beekeeping and support beekeepers in the developing world (and who I did a little volunteering for in the UK) or should I tell him to talk to the local beekeeping association (www.gbka.org.uk) who favour ‘modern’ practices but who have the great advantage of being local? I know both organisations would be happy to offer advice.
The thing about bees is that they look after themselves. They have lived without help from beekeepers for millions of years and as long as they have a dark, enclosed space to rear brood and store supplies, there is nectar and pollen within a couple of kilometres and predators (e.g. beekeepers) don’t take too much honey, they will usually survive. Diseases and parasites take their toll but don’t have as much effect as poisoning by pesticides and poor farming practices – but that’s a blog for another day.
It seems that the colony have set up home inside his garage. Like most garages this is only used for storage so there is no danger of engine fumes poisoning the bees. They have set up home in a space in the roof which is accessible and this isn’t causing any problems. He seems to like the idea of becoming a beekeeper, but doesn’t want to do any work (typical kid!) and thinks we can sort them out next time we return to the UK. We probably can and, to be honest, leaving the bees alone in a sheltered position is probably going to be good for them.