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About Us - I had to be a Bee Farmer

How it started
Prior to beekeeping, I was an engineer, with a small successful business reconditioning and modifying cylinder heads.  However, I had also been ill for a while and in and out of hospital having various operations.

One morning in 2013 I woke up and for some reason I had to keep bees, I had to be a Bee Farmer. I have no idea why but it was something I HAD to do, never felt like that about anything before!  I ordered a book - which my wife opened when it arrived as she thought it was for her, as she is the book reader in the house. She came to me very confused wondering why!  I found a beginners course in Derby and started to attend that. Part way through I suffered a stroke so I couldn't drive, luckily my wife and father-in-law gave me lifts to carry on and finish the course, I suffered a second stroke that same year. and I got my first bees in late August 2013; completely the wrong time of year to start beekeeping but I wasn't letting that, or the strokes stop me. I had 2 colonies to get through winter with only a beginners course under my belt. Having something to think about, and do, helped me recover from the strokes. Learning about bees kept my brain working.

Both colonies survived and 2014 I built up to 15 colonies.  Something just clicked and I took to beekeeping like a duck to water. I stayed at between 20 and 25 colonies for the next couple of years but by 2017 I had between 30 and 40 colonies. By 2019 I had over 50 colonies and now I have over 100 hives and nucleus colonies.

When I was engineering, I had been told to change my job several times by the consultant.  At the last surgery I had in 2016, my consultant stressed the point again as there was little more that could be done.  So as the colony numbers grew and the honey crop increased in 2020 that’s exactly what I did.

In 2020 we converted the engineering workshop into a food safe room and invested in an extraction line to extract the honey.  Due to my illness and now partial disability I had to make things as easy as possible for myself.  We now have one of the best extraction facilities in the county.

Temple Bees - where the name came from.
When I started beekeeping, I had bees at a wood belonging to a local farmer. On the other side of that wood was Gopsall Temple, where it is claimed Handel wrote the Messiah while he was visiting Gopsall Hall in 1741.
The name Temple Bees was created and a picture of the temple ruins can be seen on our label.

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My Qualifications
I started doing the BBKA Beekeeping qualifications to learn more about bees.  I have done a lot more reading and research outside of that structure and take pride that I keep up to date with research undertaken by external bodies and education facilities worldwide. I do find myself different views to other beekeepers because of this.

I took my first practical beekeeping exam in 2016. I then followed this with the theory modules and further practical assessments under the BBKA exam structure over the next few years. I anticipate becoming a recognised Master Beekeeper in the next year or so, only the second in the County.  I have the Advanced Husbandry left to complete which I am taking in 2023.

I have passed BBKA theory modules 1,2,3,5,6,7,8, and have passed the practical exams of Basic Assessment, Honey Bee Health Assessment and General Husbandry.

I am a qualified Assessor of the BBKA Basic Assessment, and have completed courses on delivering training.  I have also completed various courses with the National Bee Unit and the NDB (National Diploma in Beekeeping).

Beekeeping - What I do?
I manage over 100 colonies, raise my own Queens and sell nucleus colonies all raised in Leicestershire and South Derbyshire. I have an ethical approach to beekeeping and avoid the use of single use plastics wherever possible. I try to leave enough honey on the hives over winter to remove the need for buying huge amounts of sugar.

I currently produce around 3 tons of honey a year, including some specialist honeys from unique parts of the county.  Woodland honey comes from Newtown Linford and Wildflower honeys come from organic farms in Normanton on Soar and Mountsorrel.  There is also honey from the Heart of the National Forest in Moira as well as the typical set and runny type honeys. The spring honeys from these apiaries away from Oil Seed Rape offer the most varied tastes.  Summer honeys are dominated by Blackberry which is all over the county and tend to be very similar unless the bees are near a specific farmed crop.

I also teach for Leicestershire & Rutland Beekeepers Association and hope to have training classes of my own in the near future.  I offer a no-nonsense approach to beekeeping and training.

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