Snow and dodgy road surfaces did not deter Hamish from driving Andy and me to Kidderminster last evening for a talk "Hobby and Professional Beekeeping" by Michael Collier (from whom we bought our first bees) organised by Kidderminster BKA.
Michael is particularly interesting because he has experience in all three of the categories that he describes namely: "Hobbyist" (up to say 12 hives); "Sideliner" up to 150 hives; and "Professional". His view is that about 400 hives are required for any chance of a full-time living.
He described aspects of working for professionals both in the USA and Canada each with 4000 hives as well as his own approach.
The audience included both experienced and novice beekeepers so the questions were many and varied. Michael fielded them with easy competence demonstrating his unfailing respect for the bees' welfare, and detailed knowledge of their natural history. I had much material for my notes as well as some valuable individual advice from him after the talk.
Thankfully the gritters had been out so our return over Clee Hill was safely accomplished before the frost set in.
I hope the bees appreciate the efforts we make to understand them.
Thanks to Hamish and Andy for a most enjoyable evening