There is a real buzz at Newbattle Beekeepers Association just now as it gets set to open its new bee academy at Newbattle Abbey College.
It is hoped the academy, opening on May 20 – World Bee Day, will train up beekeepers of the future to keep this important skill going for generations.
Helen Nelson, secretary of Newbattle Beekeepers Association, said: “The academy is absolutely needed. Bees pollinate 70 per cent of our crops. What they provide in pollination and the products we get is amazing.
“We want to encourage better awareness and produce more beekeepers to keep up this important work. This work is critical. A healthy environment for the bees means a healthy environment for all.
“We are now expecting to expand to do workshops and test days once we open the academy.”
The new bee academy will be based in an old WW2 hut at the college, where the association has been since it was founded in 2012. Helen said: “The hut has been there since 1938. They had a whole army camp in the grounds. There are just two of the huts left.
“We have moved about various building in the college grounds and now this will be our permanent home.
“We had the use of a hut for about six weeks last summer but obviously we got moved on when the students returned. The college principal was happy to support our lease on the hut next door.
“We have raised over £30,000 and we have been very lucky with donations. Of time and expertise, not just money. One of our members is a quantity surveyor, one is a plumber,
“The big thing was to get a proper electricity supply in. We did that, and now the last thing to be done is the floor.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the space that we have got. We have invested a lot of time and effort into it.”
The group’s founders Peter and Joyce Jack were recently awarded the Affiliated Beekeepers Association medal for services to beekeeping.
Helen added: “They have been beekeepers since they retired. If it wasn’t for them there would be no Newbattle Beekeepers Association.
“So we can’t thank them enough. And it was great to see their passion for beekeeping recognised.”