Beekeeping at Ashbrow
Welcome to Ashbrow Apiary. We are very fortunate to have in our school a fully functional, working apiary housing 9 beehives. Not many schools in the country can boast that they have the same.
Our Year 4 children are responsible for looking after the bees, and what a responsibility that is. During the winter months the children learn all about bees, from natural history to microscopy, selection and breeding to honey harvesting. The children also learn how to make candles and lip balm, soaps and hand cream, and how to use all the products from the hive.
In the springtime that’s when the hard work starts. Every week the children go out into the apiary with their protective suits on and inspect the bees. Each inspection involves making sure that all is well in the hives. They check that the queen is laying her eggs, that the colony is healthy and happy and increasing in numbers so that they are ready for the summer and the coming nectar flows.
We also have our friend Jim, who is a master beekeeper, who comes and helps us from time to time. This year we tried our hand at bee breeding and ‘grafted’ bee eggs from the wax cells into artificial ones so we could raise some new queens from our best stock.
This year was a success for Ashbrow at The Yorkshire Honey Show in Harrogate. We were awarded First Prize in the honey confectionary class with our healthy honey sweets. The Yorkshire Beekeepers Association was very impressed with the standard of entries this year, so we are very proud of our achievements.
2015 wasn’t such a good year for our honey harvest though. We did managed to harvest about 30lbs of honey, but due to the poor summer we had and the wet spring, the bees were not able to forage as effectively as they could have done.
But it’s not about the honey. We keep bees because we care about them. They are important for pollinating our food crops and flowers, and that is something we take very seriously at Ashbrow.
We believe our school apiary is the bee’s knees!