Thanks to a wonderful team of organizers our first Natural Beekeeping Workshop including the construction of 8 Beefree Beehives was carried out with great success from March 12th-16th in Santa Lucia, Cadiz, Spain.
In collaboration with the Pedro Ezquival Work group and the local neighborhood association the 4 day workshop could not have been held at a more pristine location.
An eager and excited group of novice beekeepers gathered on Thursday afternoon at the base of the Santa lucia waterfall and we began the workshop with the construction of our top bar style brood box.
As standard Langstroth supers, panels, roofs and inner lids were ordered from a local distributer,the design of the brood box was modified for complete compatibility. Group participants worked hard in the completion of each of their hives in order to be filled with bees upon completion of the weekend intensive.
Once constructed the hives were treated with a linseed and beeswax varnish and left to dry over the completion of beekeeping training session.
Following the two afternoons of hive construction the theoretical beekeeping session began Saturday morning and was shortly followed by a practical session at the home and apiary site of a local beekeeper.
As the visit made for many group members first experience working with the bees, their nervousness quickly dissipated into enthusiasm and served us throughout the duration of the weekend workshop.
Based off of the groups observations in their areas flowering plants, part of Sunday mornings session was spent compiling the areas nectar flow calendar. By being aware of the times of year in which certain flowers, trees and bushes offer honey and/or pollen as well in in what quantity, we as beekeepers know what to look for in our bees work habits and can better assist them in reaching their full potential.
Upon completion of the weekend workshop, newly trained beekeepers excitedly took their beehives home and prepared them for the next days introduction of bee packages. Monday morning was a busy day as our team visited the home of each participant and assisted in the transferring of the bee into their new hives. As the packages came with a pair of unmated queens, new beekeepers patiently waited as their bees installed and the queen took her mating flight before opening the hive 2 weeks later.
Despite heavy rains in the time following the bees installation, the first opening of the beefree hive showed that the bees are adapting well. As the seasons evolve and beekeepers put their freshly acquired theory to the test, their observations of the bees will provide for an even richer next training session.
A big thank you to all those who helped bring this project to life, Karmit, Jorge, Angela, Colectivo Arriero, y el Grupo de Trabajo AAVV Pedro Esquival, this would not have been possible without you and I am already looking forward to our next collaboration.