Tamsin the beekeeper
“Whenever I put my white suit on to tend the bees I never seemed to be in demand from the family”
We’re a nation of harvesters here in the South West. We harvest fruit, crops and all things that we grow in our gardens and out in our fields. However, there’s one thing that only a few skilled individuals can harvest and Tamsin is one such harvester. Here’s her sticky story…
As a child, Tamsin remembers a bumble bee landing on her fathers wrist and him saying to her, “it had come to tell her the time”. How lovely to have such a memory. That memory for Tamsin sparked her interest in bees. She also remembered seeing a number of white painted traditional hives with her mum and asked her if one day she could have one of those little houses. That certainly came true in some respects.
Moving forward some years and Tamsin too had a family of her own and whilst her children were young, she bought herself a few hives and so began her harvesting, honey harvesting that is. Once you’ve bought yourself a few hives, they don’t just sit there and look after themselves you know. They do require some sort of management if thats the route you wish to take with them, so Tamsin enrolled on a year long beekeeping course to develop her skills further As the years have progressed, Tamsin has acquired more and more hives and it has now become a full time job for her as a bee keeper.
Tamsin told me, ”Manipulating honeybee colonies, whether for honey production, raising new colonies, pollination or swarm removal involves being very calm, measured and patient”. I certainly got that impression when I too got dressed up in white and watched at close quarters just how complex the whole world of honey harvesting can be. Tamsin’s hives really do require full time management.
These days, Tamsin’s time is largely made up of looking after her 90 hives that are dotted in and around the South West of Cornwall. She also spends her free time attending many conventions and lectures around the world spreading the word about the beauty of Cornish honey and its unique qualities. It’s cracking on a slice of toast too, believe you me.
A couple of interesting facts to end on here if I may: -
- Each apiary has it's own distinct honey flavour. This is due to the flora sources within the vicinity and the flavour of the nectar the bees forage on.
- A honey bee is the world's most important pollinator of food crops.
- Bees use the position of the sun to help them know where they are. We’ve all got to get home somehow!!!!
- Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey.