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Famous Bees
Libby Culshaw
Watch out for bees in a BBC Wildlife SOS series to be screened in the autumn
THINGS HAPPENED very quickly after I received a call
from Christine Gray, the British Beekeepers’ Association
(BBKA) Publicity Officer on Tuesday 26 May. She told
me that the BBC was coming to Bletchley to film a
family and they wanted to put a beehive in the garden.
Could I help?
The following day a young researcher phoned me. The BBC
was making a Wildlife SOS series and a family in Bletchley
was participating. They were planning a garden makeover
with Chris Beardshaw designing the garden and Ellie
Harrison and Nick Knowles presenting the programme. The
SOS side of things was to look at endangered insects, so
the plan was to include a bumblebee nest, a wall for wah
slsolitary bees and a WBC hive with honey bees. They would u
C y
also be putting in wildlife friendly plants. bbiL
The researcher asked if I would be the mentor to the family Andrew (right) and his mum, Anne
as they knew nothing whatsoever about keeping bees!
to have a WBC in the garden initially as a decorative feature DOING A RECCE
while Andrew, the young, enthusiastic participant, had
some training and experience with members of NBBKA.I agreed to do this but, after driving round the area, I became
Christine and I also made some stipulations in the gardensomewhat concerned because the houses and gardens were
design such as higher fences and the beehive beingvery close together. So on the Friday morning Christine and I
screened off from the family’s enormous Newfoundlandwent to recce the site and meet the producer.
The garden was triangular with houses on all sides but the EH Thorne very generously donated a complete WBC, a full
apex of the triangle looked onto a large park. The beesuit and a smoker. Andrew was very excited!
neighbour’s cherry tree was busy with honey bees.
However, we thought it would be quite reckless to condone AN AMAZING TRANSFORMATION
and encourage the siting of a hive of bees in a garden with
a family (plus three large dogs and close neighbours) who The following Monday, the garden makeover and filming
had no experience of honey bees whatsoever. It could put started in earnest. The project was to be completed within
BBKA and North Buckinghamshire Beekeepers’ Association the week. The transformation was amazing.
(NBBKA) in quite a bad light on national television. The producer wanted to film Andrew’s reaction on looking
Not wanting to pour cold water on the project, we voiced into a beehive for the very first time so, on the Thursday
our concerns and then found a compromise. It was agreed afternoon, the film crew, presenters and Andrew came to
my garden. We got them all kitted out in bee suits and they
Looking at the Association hives filmed Andrew with my bees for two and a half hours.
Andrew did exceptionally well and I know he will make a
fine beekeeper. That evening, Andrew, his Dad and brother
came to our Association’s Beginners’ apiary meeting and
witnessed the hive manipulations. They were so intrigued
by the thought of bees and beekeeping they took out a
family membership to our association and the BBKA!
The garden makeover and filming finished late on the Friday
evening. The team had done a brilliant job. They put in two
Bee Craft Digital November 2008 Page 11
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