Multiple bees working on a honeycomb

I’m a beekeeper – what’s your super power?

| minutes read
On Friday 23rd of June I used my Sopra Steria Volunteering Day to support the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) at the Royal Highland Show. The SBA was setup in 1912 as the national beekeeping body in Scotland. Sopra Steria provides me with one day’s paid volunteering, as part of our Community commitments, so with the SBA being a charity I decided to use my volunteering day to help.

Every year the SBA have a massive “Honey Marquee” at the Royal Highland Show which is a 4 day event – it’s Scotland’s biggest agricultural event with over 1,000 trade exhibitors and 6,500 animals. In the Honey Marquee alone, the SBA plan for around 10,000 visitors per day and require teams of stewards to help. So I put my name down for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

All of the stewards were avid beekeepers, ranging from people like me, i.e. beginners keeping a couple of hives in the back garden, through to bee farmers with hundreds of hives and decades of experiences.

 

Stephen Readman stood outside the honey marquee with a person wearing a bee suit

 

We rotated our teams around the various sections of the hive covering:
  • Candle making – beeswax of course!
  • Observation hives – we had 3 glass sided hives with bees foraging outside at the show

Education – a “touchy feely” area where people can handle hive parts, honey  comb and a honey extractor.

Here’s a view inside the Honey Marquee:

A panoramic photo of the inside of the honey marquee



How did I get into Beekeeping?

One of my good friends from school has kept bees for many years and I’d always had “beekeeping” in my bucket list of things to. So when he said he had a spare colony for me I thought – “how difficult can this be?”. I took my first colony with his telephone support, joined the Edinburgh branch of the SBA and did their beginners evening course. My (then) 8 year old daughter came along to the Saturday practical sessions too, so this has become a bit of a family hobby.

 

Photo of Stephen Readman and his daughter wearing beekeeper suits

2016 was a bad year weather-wise and we didn’t get any honey, but in May this year we took our first crop of 13 jars:
Photo collage of Stephen Readman's daughter with the first crop of 13 jars of honey and honeycombs

 

Bees and our environment

As you will have heard in the news, bees have had a bit of a bad time with a variety of factors leading to colonies failing, this includes Varroa Mites and Foul Brood. We’re all hoping that the Asian Hornet doesn’t take hold in the UK.

Discover more about Sopra Steria’s sustainability commitment and community activities.

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Authored by Stephen Readman

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