Beekeeper Spotlight: Meet Paula

At Pollinator Pioneers, our team consists of 16 dedicated volunteer beekeepers (and growing). We are incredibly grateful to work with each and every one of them. We want to share with you our monthly beekeeper spotlight, so without further ado, please meet Paula – A beekeeper who recently overwintered a small colony in her garden and is part of the Worthing Leisure Centre Apiary.

How did your beekeeping journey start?
I saw an ad on Facebook during lockdown for Pollinator Pioneers looking for people to train as beekeepers. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I signed up. This season will be my 3rd volunteering at the Worthing site. I have learned so much from the experienced beekeepers there and want to thank them for their patience and knowledge. I love being outside in nature, have a wild area in my garden with a wildlife pond, wildflowers beds and native trees and weeds.

What do you l love about beekeeping?
I love beekeeping for many reasons, the quiet concentration needed is almost meditative, the bees are fascinating to spend time with, and it’s almost like the world slows down for those moments.

What’s your interesting bee fact?
My top interesting bee fact is that they can fly at 12mph, which is pretty nippy when we just think of them bumbling about in our flowers.

What are the top threats facing pollinators in the modern day?
Top threats to our pollinators must include the use of pesticides, mono-crops and plastic grass.

What is the most challenging aspect of husbandry?
The most challenging part of bee husbandry for me is making those decisions as to whether we intervene or see if the colony can overcome obstacles. Such as losing a queen, the colony will try to replace her by growing new queens, but these are not always successful. We then must decide whether to buy a new queen and decide whether that will be more successful. Most of the time we try not to “interfere” too much, but sometimes we need to.

What advice would you give anyone interested in Conservation or Beekeeping?
To anyone interested in conservation or beekeeping, find your local groups. Lots of wildlife groups meet up, or even online if you are unable to get out and about. Contact your local beekeeping association to see what opportunities may be available locally. If you’re interested in conservation in your garden leave a patch for weeds to grow and if possible add a small pond for wildlife, it’s a fascinating place to start.

Want to know more?
Do get in touch if you feel inspired to become a trainee beekeeper in the future. Perhaps you would like to volunteer on ‘wild pioneering’ days, or help us with promotion at local events? We would love to hear from you.