Talk to WI

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Messages
213
Reaction score
159
Location
South Oxfordshire
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
8
I've been asked to talk to my local WI in Feb.

Given that when it comes to bees I simply don't know when to stop talking, I'm struggling to focus on which aspects would most appeal to members. I doubt my queen rearing talk is what is called for and would appreciate pointers on which areas they would find most interesting.

Anyone with experience of giving such a talk? All tips welcome
 
Last edited:
I have done several: Two jars of honey and teaspoons to taste help.

WI 19th January 2016 -Talk on Bees





  1. INTRODUCTION




About me





About bees


F
ossil Burma 100 million years ago Bees/wasps


Earliest fossil (Apis) Europe 35 million years ago – in amber


Evolved East Africa spread to Europe/Asia.


America/Australia /NZ - not native. Imported only.


Human interaction -Turkey - beeswax 9,000 years ago


Hives in Egypt 2400BC, Hittites 1500BC





Oldest honey stains – Georgia, 5,000years old


Valley of Kings – honeycomb.3,000 years old.


Wax – candles


Honey – sweetener, food, and medicine (acidic, hydroscopic,hydrogen peroxide ) bandages. Propolis (bee glue)


Bumble bees.


Pollination.





2. BEES





Social Insect, Queen, female workers, drones (males).


Overwinter on combs eating stored pollen and honey


Winter bees live up to six months.


Queen lays eggs (up to 2,000/day) .Workers rear them.


Hatch as workers 21 days.


As weather improves: more bees. Up to 60,000.+


Foraging


Gather pollen – protein , nectar- carbohydrates.


Hive expands in spring /summer


Surplus nectar converted to honey and stored in combs.


Run out of space? Make more wax.


Run out of space? Queen cells and swarm


Autumn – prepare for winter. Bee glue – propolis


Winter. Survive eating stored honey. Cluster when very cold.





3. BEEKEEPING





Knowledge of bees and practical experience.


Bees sting! (Immunity) Anaphylactic shock – workers only


Precautions. Clothing.


Hives – wood or High Density polystyrene. Insulation. Natural.


Smoker.


Cost.


Honey extraction


BBKA








  1. PESTS/DISEASES/PROBLEMS

American Foul Brood/European Foul Brood.


Varroa.


Treatment


Bee Inspectorate.


Pesticides/loss of habitat. Fewer bees,, But more beekeepers and awareness.





5. PLANTS and FLOWERS





Seasonal.


http://tinyurl.com/oty6eqo


Single flowers not double.


Spring: Crocus, willow


Summer: ceanothus,buddleia,phacelia, borage,lavender


Autumn: Rosebaywillow herb(!) , Himalayan Balsam (!!), ivy





  1. FACTS and FIGURES




8,000 bees weigh 1Kg (approx )


1 pound weight honey =55,000 bee miles


Average bee collects ½ teaspoon of honey.


In summer a hive contains approx 60,000 bees. Winter 5-10,000.


Honey Production per hive 15-100 pounds. (average 20-35).


Life of Queen bee: 2-5 years.


Life of worker bee 6 months (winter), 6 weeks (summer)


Life of drone 3-4 months.





Honey – botulinism under 1 year olds – do not feed





Exhibits:



Bee suits


Smoker


Avon Skin So Soft.


Comb


Mating nuc.


Honey.





















































Useful Links.


British Beekeepers Association http://***************/





North Staffs Beekeepers North Staffordshire Beekeepers – For everyone interested in honeybees in and around North Staffordshire





Beekeeping Forum (largest in UK) Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum
 
I have done several: Two jars of honey and teaspoons to taste help.

WI 19th January 2016 -Talk on Bees





  1. INTRODUCTION




About me





About bees


F
ossil Burma 100 million years ago Bees/wasps


Earliest fossil (Apis) Europe 35 million years ago – in amber


Evolved East Africa spread to Europe/Asia.


America/Australia /NZ - not native. Imported only.


Human interaction -Turkey - beeswax 9,000 years ago


Hives in Egypt 2400BC, Hittites 1500BC





Oldest honey stains – Georgia, 5,000years old


Valley of Kings – honeycomb.3,000 years old.


Wax – candles


Honey – sweetener, food, and medicine (acidic, hydroscopic,hydrogen peroxide ) bandages. Propolis (bee glue)


Bumble bees.


Pollination.





2. BEES





Social Insect, Queen, female workers, drones (males).


Overwinter on combs eating stored pollen and honey


Winter bees live up to six months.


Queen lays eggs (up to 2,000/day) .Workers rear them.


Hatch as workers 21 days.


As weather improves: more bees. Up to 60,000.+


Foraging


Gather pollen – protein , nectar- carbohydrates.


Hive expands in spring /summer


Surplus nectar converted to honey and stored in combs.


Run out of space? Make more wax.


Run out of space? Queen cells and swarm


Autumn – prepare for winter. Bee glue – propolis


Winter. Survive eating stored honey. Cluster when very cold.





3. BEEKEEPING





Knowledge of bees and practical experience.


Bees sting! (Immunity) Anaphylactic shock – workers only


Precautions. Clothing.


Hives – wood or High Density polystyrene. Insulation. Natural.


Smoker.


Cost.


Honey extraction


BBKA








  1. PESTS/DISEASES/PROBLEMS

American Foul Brood/European Foul Brood.


Varroa.


Treatment


Bee Inspectorate.


Pesticides/loss of habitat. Fewer bees,, But more beekeepers and awareness.





5. PLANTS and FLOWERS





Seasonal.


http://tinyurl.com/oty6eqo


Single flowers not double.


Spring: Crocus, willow


Summer: ceanothus,buddleia,phacelia, borage,lavender


Autumn: Rosebaywillow herb(!) , Himalayan Balsam (!!), ivy





  1. FACTS and FIGURES




8,000 bees weigh 1Kg (approx )


1 pound weight honey =55,000 bee miles


Average bee collects ½ teaspoon of honey.


In summer a hive contains approx 60,000 bees. Winter 5-10,000.


Honey Production per hive 15-100 pounds. (average 20-35).


Life of Queen bee: 2-5 years.


Life of worker bee 6 months (winter), 6 weeks (summer)


Life of drone 3-4 months.





Honey – botulinism under 1 year olds – do not feed





Exhibits:



Bee suits


Smoker


Avon Skin So Soft.


Comb


Mating nuc.


Honey.





















































Useful Links.


British Beekeepers Association http://***************/





North Staffs Beekeepers North Staffordshire Beekeepers – For everyone interested in honeybees in and around North Staffordshire





Beekeeping Forum (largest in UK) Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum
Crikey, thank you, that is very helpful
 
I've done a few ... MIke has smashed it with his pace notes above. Mine tend to be a little less in-depth. I reckon you should pitch for a length not more than 45 minutes and allow another 20 minutes for questions as well (there will always be some).

I find that they like the bit about drones only getting one chance at mating and die afterwards, plus they are chucked out for winter and die off.. there's always some empathy with WI for the fact that it's a matriarchal society and the boys are only there for one thing and the girls do all the work. The fact that always goes down well is bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey. One bee would therefore have to fly around 90,000 miles - three times around the globe - to make one pound of honey.

If you can put together a powerpoint presentation with pictures - even if they are only vaguely related to what you are saying - it keeps them focused. Be prepared for the usual questions from Vegans ... there's always one ...

I don't get into too much detail - most of your audience won't know the differerence between a honey bee and a wasp let alone have any knowledge of what's involved keeping bees. I take along an empty hive with frames and I have a set of 'virtual' hive frames so they can see what we keep the bees in. If you have some bits of free comb to pass around that helps with the touchy feely bit.

I've never had a bad experience talking to people about bees ... as you surmise - the risk is you talk too much, if they glaze over .. time to call a halt !

Oh ... and the good thing about WI meetings is there is ALWAYS cake !!
 
I've done a few ... MIke has smashed it with his pace notes above. Mine tend to be a little less in-depth. I reckon you should pitch for a length not more than 45 minutes and allow another 20 minutes for questions as well (there will always be some).

I find that they like the bit about drones only getting one chance at mating and die afterwards, plus they are chucked out for winter and die off.. there's always some empathy with WI for the fact that it's a matriarchal society and the boys are only there for one thing and the girls do all the work. The fact that always goes down well is bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey. One bee would therefore have to fly around 90,000 miles - three times around the globe - to make one pound of honey.

If you can put together a powerpoint presentation with pictures - even if they are only vaguely related to what you are saying - it keeps them focused. Be prepared for the usual questions from Vegans ... there's always one ...

I don't get into too much detail - most of your audience won't know the differerence between a honey bee and a wasp let alone have any knowledge of what's involved keeping bees. I take along an empty hive with frames and I have a set of 'virtual' hive frames so they can see what we keep the bees in. If you have some bits of free comb to pass around that helps with the touchy feely bit.

I've never had a bad experience talking to people about bees ... as you surmise - the risk is you talk too much, if they glaze over .. time to call a halt !

Oh ... and the good thing about WI meetings is there is ALWAYS cake !!
Great advice, thank you. Ref your last - they asked what my fee would be and I said a cup of tea and a slice of cake :)
 
Great advice, thank you. Ref your last - they asked what my fee would be and I said a cup of tea and a slice of cake :)
I usually ask for a donation (they can decide how much) to Bees Abroad
 
These sound like great suggestions, but if I may add my ten-penneth; a tip the secretary of one of the groups I've spoken to (not about bees) was "don't forget, whatever the topic, we like to be entertained". If you try to picture yourself receiving the talk, what would you want to hear if you knew nothing or very little of the subject? Good luck.
 
These sound like great suggestions, but if I may add my ten-penneth; a tip the secretary of one of the groups I've spoken to (not about bees) was "don't forget, whatever the topic, we like to be entertained". If you try to picture yourself receiving the talk, what would you want to hear if you knew nothing or very little of the subject? Good luck.
Very much so ... you need to pitch the talk to suit the audience ... too much technical stuff can kill it dead ... you can often pick up from the questions what level of detail they are comfortable with. I did a talk for a group of students who had studied bees as part of their biology course ... they knew more about the insides of a bee and bee biology than I did - but what they enjoyed was hearing about the practicalities of beekeeping and the questions that came out were very searching because they had the knowledge of the insects to start with. They were able to put into context what they knew about the bees life cycle, nutrition and reproduction with what I was able to tell them about actual beekeeping; they were seeking knowledge not entertainment.

The average WI meeting will be a much lighter talk and as you say ... entertainment.
 
These sound like great suggestions, but if I may add my ten-penneth; a tip the secretary of one of the groups I've spoken to (not about bees) was "don't forget, whatever the topic, we like to be entertained". If you try to picture yourself receiving the talk, what would you want to hear if you knew nothing or very little of the subject? Good luck.
Good advice, thanks. I'll definitely take honey for tasing and parts of a hive. I'll use powerpoint, but try to do as much hands on stuff as possible
 
Very much so ... you need to pitch the talk to suit the audience ... too much technical stuff can kill it dead ... you can often pick up from the questions what level of detail they are comfortable with. I did a talk for a group of students who had studied bees as part of their biology course ... they knew more about the insides of a bee and bee biology than I did - but what they enjoyed was hearing about the practicalities of beekeeping and the questions that came out were very searching because they had the knowledge of the insects to start with. They were able to put into context what they knew about the bees life cycle, nutrition and reproduction with what I was able to tell them about actual beekeeping; they were seeking knowledge not entertainment.

The average WI meeting will be a much lighter talk and as you say ... entertainment.
Agree all, thanks. I think 45 minutes maximum, with as much hands on with kit as possible. I thought I might also cover a few bee friendly plants as well - I'm sure many will be keen gardeners
 
which areas they would find most interesting
whatever the topic, we like to be entertained
too much technical stuff can kill it dead
try to picture yourself receiving the talk
These stars should guide your approach: your job is to open a window on the beekeeper's world, not list facts.

Powerpoint may seem a good idea, but it's called death-by-powerpoint for good reason. If you do use it, choose great photos and don't read the screen.

Alternative is to use props to remind you: take several smokers (pass them round to sniff), a hive (assemble it as you describe the purpose of each part) and a suit (wear it). Bonus: if they allow it, light your smoker.

Use the above to act out a hive check: the personal story will engage more than the dissemination of information. Tell a story of disaster and a story of success.

Limit the info. but include: pollination (greater benefit to humans than honey), swarming (reason for it, nothing to fear, what to do) and stings (low risk away from the hive, the role of the alarm pheromone amyl acetate in bananas, perfume and alcohol, what to do).

End with a honey tasting: take the cheapest supermarket honey, your own, and a manuka. After that break, explain:
1 purpose of pasteurising and industrial filtration (shelf stability) that leads to a cleansed product
2 that 88% of honey we eat is imported (mainly China, Mexico or Argentina) and that some is mixed with sugar syrup
3 that food miles increase global warming: buy local, pay more and eat less. Cheap food is bad for the environment and human health
4 why manuka? 40 years ago you couldn't give it away; healing properties of methylgloxal valid for medical use; effective marketing led to worldwide sales and fraudulent labelling (legal to add 6% to a barrel and call it manuka!). Even if it was the best thing going, is it reasonable to impact the environment and use energy to import honey 3,500 miles? The answer you get will always be no

Practice at home to set a pace; on the night, have a clock on a wall.

Allow five minutes for questions, then go into honey sales mode. You have created demand so have an assistant run this, as your brain will have fried. When I did a WI we took £490 in under 30 minutes, and my young daughter said she learned more about maths in that time than in a school term.
 
Powerpoint may seem a good idea
I use it simply as a means of storing and sharing photographs. if you depend on graphs, diagrams etc., you'll have lost them before starting
 
These stars should guide your approach: your job is to open a window on the beekeeper's world, not list facts.

Powerpoint may seem a good idea, but it's called death-by-powerpoint for good reason. If you do use it, choose great photos and don't read the screen.

Alternative is to use props to remind you: take several smokers (pass them round to sniff), a hive (assemble it as you describe the purpose of each part) and a suit (wear it). Bonus: if they allow it, light your smoker.

Use the above to act out a hive check: the personal story will engage more than the dissemination of information. Tell a story of disaster and a story of success.

Limit the info. but include: pollination (greater benefit to humans than honey), swarming (reason for it, nothing to fear, what to do) and stings (low risk away from the hive, the role of the alarm pheromone amyl acetate in bananas, perfume and alcohol, what to do).

End with a honey tasting: take the cheapest supermarket honey, your own, and a manuka. After that break, explain:
1 purpose of pasteurising and industrial filtration (shelf stability) that leads to a cleansed product
2 that 88% of honey we eat is imported (mainly China, Mexico or Argentina) and that some is mixed with sugar syrup
3 that food miles increase global warming: buy local, pay more and eat less. Cheap food is bad for the environment and human health
4 why manuka? 40 years ago you couldn't give it away; healing properties of methylgloxal valid for medical use; effective marketing led to worldwide sales and fraudulent labelling (legal to add 6% to a barrel and call it manuka!). Even if it was the best thing going, is it reasonable to impact the environment and use energy to import honey 3,500 miles? The answer you get will always be no

Practice at home to set a pace; on the night, have a clock on a wall.

Allow five minutes for questions, then go into honey sales mode. You have created demand so have an assistant run this, as your brain will have fried. When I did a WI we took £490 in under 30 minutes, and my young daughter said she learned more about maths in that time than in a school term.
Some great ideas, thank you. My wife is coming along to model a beesuit and to sell the honey. She’s looks much better in a beesuit than I do and is much better at selling!
 
Remember K.I.S.S. Too much info and eyes start glazing over.
 
I start off with how I started keeping bees and then take an empty beehive in and loads of hexagonal jars. I explain that a beehive is like a house, starting with the floor, then the floors, brood and super with rooms ( frames) ceiling and roof and explain what each one does. I think stack a few he's jars to show how hex shapes fit together perfectly , explain that for strength the hex always has the point at the top.
Finish with various jars of different honey for tasting discussing texture and colours.
One hour usually turns into two!
 
Back
Top