A lot of attention is paid to ensuring new beekeepers are well trained and make a good start on their hobby but I find less said about stopping beekeeping. Deciding to stop may be from choice or a change of circumstances but similar questions arise.
I am surprised at the number of times I have been contacted by someone who has come across an abandoned hive, sometimes with bees other times just rotten comb. I’m sure I don’t need to remind most beekeepers of the pests and diseases these hives can harbour. Also when collecting lots for the Meon Valley Beekeepers Association (MVBKA) Annual Auction I have on a number of occasions been offered a variety of old and dirty or even rotten equipment.
If you know of anyone who is struggling with their beekeeping or has doubts about what to do, please try and speak to them and see if you can help. Yes, it can be embarrassing but they may be aware of the situation and just need a little nudge to make sure there bees are cared for and equipment properly disposed of.
These thoughts were prompted when we started to prepare for the MVBKA annual auction. One of the functions of our, and similar, auctions is to recycle used kit and not let it just rot away. Ours is just one of several such auctions and I would urge people to consider using these, not just to raise a bit of cash but if anyone puts in a bid for a decent bit of kit they are going to use it! There is no value in moving rubbish from one shed to another!
I was pleased last year to receive a thank you note from one of our vendors – I think it illustrates the point well.