Ian Mackley

Meet the ADBKA Committee Members

17-08 Iceland 620_edit-1Twenty years ago, if anyone had said I’d become a beekeeper I would have thought they didn’t know me very well.  It would never have crossed my mind or compared with my other interests.  Then one day my daughter came home from junior school with a children’s book about honeybees. That caught my wife’s attention and she found out about, and started to attend, the ADBKA introductory course. However, she wasn’t so keen on diseases and pests so I said I would attend that week so that we at least had the knowledge in the house. I ended up completing the course (and in fact did it all again the following year), but although I was interested I still wasn’t entirely sure
beekeeping was for me.

Then one day at work in BP the boss and his assistant staggered down to my desk carrying a huge box, which turned out to contain a WBC hive. This was recognition for some good work I had done and my boss had very enlightened views on how to do bonuses for maximum impact! Thornes exchanged the WBC for the National I preferred and Sandy Gordon kindly provided me with a swarm to occupy the hive. I joined the ADBKA and SBA. I fortuitously lived quite close to the Association apiary at Craibstone and not far from Jock’s Thornes supplies too, which all helped.

That was all back in 2003. It seemed so simple then, partly due an absence of knowledge and experience on my part and partly that varroa did not arrive up here for another year or two.

I pottered on for a few years, making all the usual mistakes – damaging the queen whilst marking, destroying queen cells in a colony that had already swarmed, not spotting hidden queen cells, getting to that ‘I really haven’t a clue what’s going on’ stage, and so on – but hopefully gradually improving and progressively trying new things.

A friend I had enthused about bees then wanted my help to start beekeeping. But I thought that if I were to help others, then I should confirm and consolidate my own skills and knowledge a bit so I took the Basic Beemaster examination in 2014. The examiner, Tony Harris, observed that Module 1 wasn’t much more to learn than the BB. So I sat SBA Module 1 a few months later and I have now passed five of the seven Modules on the never-ending path to honeybee enlightenment!

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