Post thanks to Maggie Hughes,

Roger Patterson’s visit to the Isle of Man was a busy four day bee extravaganza for the Islands beekeepers.

The grove museum and Noa bake house 018It kicked off on Friday 29 April at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas, what a great venue, centrally located, large enough to accommodate the eighty plus people who attended but small enough for everyone to get to know each other. There was a mixture of folk from Island beekeepers to people who didn’t keep bees but were interested in the idea of beekeeping and others who were just interested in bees and nature in general.

Roger was the main speaker for the evening. With his easy, laid back approach he took us through various bee subjects, and of course the main and very important subject, bee diseases. With the aid of a projector we were able to view pictures while Roger explained them in detail and answered the many questions put to him from the audience, people were asking so many questions I think they could have gone on all night such was the interest! As well as Roger, Breeshey and Keith explained about the Bee Improvement Group in Shennharra, St Johns which is going from strength to strength as interest builds. Cilla also gave valuable input, this year on the new beginner’s course at Knockaloe there were thirty eight in the class!

Norry and Esther Mills had a table full of bee items such as bees wax candles, jars of their bee’s honey which were very diverse in colour and The grove museum and Noa bake house 022Norry’s encaustic paintings which he does by melting the bees wax, colouring it then applying it to the canvas, very impressive! Tanya Anderson had a lovely display of her beauty products to buy and try. Best of all there was an array of honey to try, each one had a different colour, texture and taste, amazing how such a small island can produce a wide variety. The evening was a great success, many new friends were made and potential new beekeepers enticed.

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On Monday 2nd April we were invited to Ballavagher, Keith Osborn’s house where we sat and drank tea whilst Roger and a group of thirteen discussed bees. Esther has some of her hives in Keith’s garden which we took a look at with Roger at the helm.


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Roger does not wear a suit or gloves just a veil, with his slow calm approach the bees behaved impeccably. After the apiary visit there was a chance to learn the art of grafting, this was not as hard as expected but Roger Patterson 2016 023with an excellent tutor like Roger what could go wrong? A lot was learnt this day, that is the importance of experienced beekeepers passing on their knowledge, books are fantastic but hands on with an experienced beekeeper is priceless.

On Tuesday 3rd a group of eight took a drive up north to the Curraghs where Breeshey keeps five hives, they are in a sheltered secluded sunny location surrounded by willow trees. All the hives were in excellent condition and were rated ten out of ten by Roger! The bees were again very well behaved, we were able to find the queen in all the hives. Roger pointed out on some of the frames bees feeding each other and the various colours of pollen the bees were bringing back, the amount of pollen on their legs was magnificent, it is surprising how much the bees can actually carry. From there the group moved up to Smeale for another apiary visit followed by tea and cake.

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Roger and the Isle of Man beekeepers certainly had a busy weekend, lots of tea was drunk, cake eaten and knowledge gained.


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