Meet the ADBKA Committee members
Committee member for four years.
My first introduction into beekeeping started from my father in law who used to keep bees in the 1970s and had nine colonies in National Hives, he was a member of the Angus Beekeepers association. Being a joiner and carpenter by profession my initial interest was in the construction and maintenance of my father in law’s hives but invariably I began to help with the management of the colonies.
When I started helping to look after the bees I was stung just above the eye which caused both eyes to close and required a trip to Stracathro hospital where I was advised that I may have an allergic reaction to bee stings. Subsequent stings caused less and less reaction and now I get very little problems from their stings at all. In the 1970s we used to harvest a lot of honey from the raspberries; almost on a weekly basis we were able to sell our excess honey. Back then there were no Varroa mites – so, in general beekeeping was easier.
One season we were unlucky when all our bees eventually died out after taking them to harvest nectar from the oil seed rape and then the heather. We never found out what had happened to them. And so my beekeeping was interrupted for several years and then I was back into it.
In the year 2003 when I received a call from my daughter advising me that a swarm of honey bees had taken up residency in the roof space of her house. Upon further investigation I have discovered that the bees had found an entrance into the roof space of the property that was impossible to access from inside and the only way to reach them was to remove a section of roof tiles and sarking boards to access the bees from outside the building. After I stripped back a section of roof, a big colony was located which I transferred into a box and left to settle, returning the next morning to find out that unfortunately the box was empty and the bees were happily back within the roof space of the house. I had to remove another section of roof in an attempt to secure the Queen bee together with more of the combs the bees had constructed. As before I put all the bees I could handle back into the box and left it overnight. Upon my return I was greeted with a full colony of bees in the box and all of the bees cleared from the roof space.
Shortly after I retrieved this swarm I spotted a swarm of bees travelling along beside power lines at the back of my house, the swarm of bees settled close by and I was able to secure the colony. I now had two swarms of bees and was back into beekeeping.
I stay in Edzell which is approximately half way between Tayside and Aberdeenshire beekeeping associations and therefore decided to join the ADBKA shortly after securing the swarms. I keep bees because I like honey and I get a great sense of achievement from looking after them; every time you open up a hive and check through the colony things change from the previous inspection and you have to react differently depending upon what you see.
Being a beekeeper in Edzell when the military base was fully operational I have received my fair share of calls to collect swarms of bees. One particular day I received a call from the base to collect a swarm of honey bees from the back garden of a serviceman. I arrived to find a family had recently arrived from Texas to take up residency at the military base only to find their property ‘invaded with bees’; inspection of the bees found them to be a small colony of bumble bees. Another emergency call turned out to be a small colony of miner bees.
Currently I have seven colonies of bees that I keep in my garden within National hives and two Langstroth hives, which after hearing such good reports about them I decided to make a couple and so far they have proven to be excellent.
During my time in the ADBKA I have seen us move from our association apiary at Craibstone to the new location at Crathes. Within our new apiary building I have put my joinery skills to good use by making the work tops and cabinets that can be found within the building.
David Pert, Edzell
In addition to David’s contributions as a committee member he has also been a tremendous asset to the work of the apiary as one of the team of loyal volunteers. David’s professional joinery skills and specialist tools saw him continually adding to and improving the cabin facilities in numerous ways, and he has always been there when any woodworking skills on hives is required. David is an unassuming character and just gets on cheerfully with any job he sees which needs some expert attention. David is in many ways the epitome of a good and useful association member, who gives his time and skills unstintingly.
John Cooper, ADBKA
During the time he has spent on the committee, David has been hugely generous with his time and, in particular, his impressive joinery skills. This has proved to be especially valuable over the past couple of years as we have developed the apiary cabin at Crathes. It seemed that there was no problem that David couldn’t solve. The slide-out workbench, the book cabinet, the worktop, the bee screen, the composting toilet, the observation hive, the wheelchair ramp – the list goes on. At each weekly gathering of our Sunday morning apiary volunteers group, David’s arrival with his white van/mobile joinery workshop was a guarantee that our facilities at the end of the session would be better than they were at the beginning!
Graham Torrie, ADBKA