LlyG Member Blog – New Community Woodland bee keeping course starts

Posted on April 27, 2015 by

This month LlyG associate member and StarTree project worker Adam Thorogood reports back from the first day of a new community woodland bee keeping course, attended by 10 community woodlands across Wales as part of the StarTree project. 

The sun shone on Plas Tan y Bwlch on Sunday 26th April as representatives from 5 community woodland groups (pictured) made their way up through the woods to the training centre for the first session of the StarTree community woodland beekeeping course.

The course is being run by expert bee keepers from Merioneth Beekeepers Association, Paul Aslin and Carys Edwards. The same course is also being run in parallel in south Wales with another 5 Llais y Goedwig member groups and tutored by Dinah and John Sweet.

What is StarTree?

StarTree is a pan-European project supporting the sustainable use of forest resources for rural development, focussing on Non Wood Forest Products (NWFP). It aims to strengthen and diversify rural economic activity.

Llais y Goedwig is coordinating the project in Wales, working with a stakeholder group of representatives from the Welsh woodland sector.

Why bee keeping?

Honey and other bee products are included in the huge list of NWFP that can be harvested from Wales’ woodlands, forests and hedgerows. Bees forage for nectar and pollen from a rich selection of tree flowers and understorey plants as well as making use of resin from trees to make propolis, so siting hives close to woodlands can really benefit bee colonies.

Bee keeping, if practiced sustainably, can create a steady flow of products, both raw and processed, which can be sold to create a small income for the bee keeper.

The concept with this series of workshops is to equip community woodland groups to build up the number of bee colonies to a level where they can start to make an income from bee products.

The first session

The focus of the first session was the ecology of the honey bee colony. Groups learnt about the life cycle of a bee and the colony itself, how eggs develop and grow into adult bees but also how the colony goes through its own cycle.

The tutors demonstrated how the bee keeper can work through the seasons with the rhythms of the colony. Participants got a chance to look inside hives for the first time and see the brood at different stages of growth.

The future

Groups will be supported through the initial stages of acquiring a nucleus colony and seeing it develop through the rest of the year. Eventually, groups will be able to split their colonies and increase the number of hives they have to a level which will produce enough honey and wax to establish a micro enterprise for the community woodland group.

To view picture of the course visit the Llais y Goedwig Facebook page here

To find out more about the StarTree project in Wales contact maria.wilding@llaisygoedwig.org.uk

 

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