September Newsletter 2020

“Humanity is at a crossroads, a literal tipping point. If we are to transform, if we are to step off the path to our own destruction, we are going to have to consent to letting go of all that we have created thus far.”

Zach Bush

Dear Bee friends and Supporters of the Trust

So much has changed in our world since spring this year! The decision to cancel our conference, envisaged for late August at Dartington Hall in Devon was not taken lightly. Indeed, it has left us rather dispirited for some time, and at a loss for words. So we’re happy to be in touch again to share with you some of our and others’ experiences of this summer as well as our aspirations for the future.

Let's lift our eyes and spirits upwards away from our human problems and begin this newsletter with talk about swarming. In some parts of the country the blossoms’ nectar flow was impeded by drought - a kind of lock-down in the floral kingdom to which the bees reacted with total appropriateness as is their wont. What inspires us so greatly about these creatures is their unwavering dedication to do the right thing, at the right time and in right measure. The bees always know what to do and reproduction only happens when the conditions are right.

All the more significant that, judging by what we heard from our bee contacts in this country as well as Ireland, that so many of the swarms that did issue from particularly opulent colonies chose to inhabit the kind of natural dwelling that is offered by an ever growing number of people who dedicate themselves to offering bee-appropriate homes, often in elevated places, with no strings attached.

Here a few comments from our friends and associates:

Simon Kellam ( “This year has been a testing time for us all, but if bees are anything to go by, nature seems to have flourished. Having installed some 16 Eco Tree Hives over the SW of England, I have been absolutely astounded to see ALL of them occupied readily by swarms. Next year also promises to be an exciting one with a 2500 acre rewilding project, on a Cornish estate, in the pipeline.”

Matt Somerville ( “Despite initial concerns that over-attentive beekeepers would reduce the number of swarms, it has been another incredible swarm season. At least 65 of 72 new log/freedom hives were self populated by bees. Wonderful to witness scout bees investigating while I was still strapping hives to the trees, and on one occasion, a huge swarm arrived after only an hour! I can see that there is both a need from the bees for more suitable nesting sites and from people who simply want to enjoy being with these extraordinary insects rather than managing them to harvest honey. To witness scouts finding the hive, reach a consensus that it is the best available and then watching a swarm arrive is one of nature's many miracles."

Mick Verspuij ( Bees do best when left alone. This season the bees spread their wings in Inishowen, 52 swarms, all loghives erected this spring were occupied. The native black bees in Donegal and Ireland have a prosperous future ahead

Heidi Herrmann “This summer, all the swarms I was lucky to witness chose their own homes. It was quite an exercise in self-restraint not to "catch" them. And I am happy that they chose to stay with me. All of them. Naturally, I had made provision in spring to provide a good selection of possible homes.

Arboreal Apiculture Salons

We hope you find the time to enjoy the podcasts of our most recent salons. We know our podcasts to be extremely effective in reaching thousands of people across the world, which makes the intense effort needed to produce them worthwhile.

The theme of May’s salon was ‘Stillpoint’ which denotes an in-between state, a transitional time between past and future. ‘Stillpoint” invites us to reflect and become ever more conscious of what attracts and what ties us to the bees. --- July’s theme was “Rewilding Honeybess in various landscapes and eco-systems” , with special guest Andre Wermelinger, a passionate advocate of wildApis mellifera, promoting both legal protection and monitoring of wild colonies through Free the Bees.

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