Hello. My name is Tim Jackson, an enthusiastic beekeeper from Dorset who was initially introduced to the craft many years ago by my father.
I was about 12 years old, when I remember collecting my first swarm from the top of a street lamp outside my home in Blandford, when my father was away one day. Not that he knew what I was up to, I remember persuading a local electricity company at the time who were working in the street if they could lift me up in the back of their 'Cherry Picker' so as I could collect them. Having knocked the bees into a large cardboard box, I remember proudly walking back home afterwards with neighbours diving for cover and bees flying everywhere. Needless to say my father was delighted and duly helped me hive them.
Many years passed by after that introduction, but due to work commitments, parties and all the normal distractions for a young man, it wasn’t until about 8 years ago after I moved back to Dorset with my family, that a neighbour asked me to collect a swarm from their garden. As a result I have been trying to master the art of beekeeping ever since!
I find that every year beekeeping throws out a new challenge. However confident and prepared one is at the start of the season, there is always something unexpected that happens. Whether it’s watching your bees disappear down the road having already done an artificial swarm, or seeing two queens walking on the same frame or simply understanding why your bees do what they do. It’s that challenge which I find so addictive.
Many books have been written about beekeeping giving the right and wrong way to manage an apiary but it is not until you start to look after your own hives do you really begin to understand what it is all about. I am sure I am not the only beekeeper to experience this, but more often than not my bees end up doing something completely different than what they are meant to do in the book. As a result, I have to ask the question ‘Do we really understand the life of the honeybee’. ‘Do we really know what going on in that hive at the end of the garden’? Sometimes I think not.
Whatever the answer is, and whether one understands them or not, there is nothing more enjoyable than seeing them come through the winter as a result of one’s love and care, watching them at work in the summer, listening to their humming on a summer's evening and ultimately harvesting the product they kindly give us.
I currently manage 12 of my own WBC and National hives and sell my honey through the local village shop in Ludwell near Shaftesbury, The Udder Farm Shop at East Stour as well as at Compton Abbas Airfield, Dorset.
In January 2011, I was made the Hon Secretary on the Shaftesbury & Gillingham BKA and continued in that role until the end of 2013.
The photographs above show me:
- Up a tree collecting a swarm
- Being presented the Harry Grainger Trophy for winning the overall best 'Frame suitable for extraction' at the 2007 National Honey Show.
- Inspecting a hive on the Echium
- My 2011 NHS winning 'Frame suitable for extraction'