Valley Wives Report – February

From Joan Steel

Jill welcomed us to the meeting then read some amusing quotes about children. After making the announcements Jill introduced Krissie Streatfield.a member of the Wycombe Beekeepers Association who’s slide talk was entitled “Buzz about Bees”. Krissie has kept bees for six years and at the moment has thirty-two hives, some locally in the Cryers Hill area and a small number at Waddesden Manor. The exact location of the hives is kept secret because the bees are very valuable. In a brief history of bees we learned that they are known to have been around for at least twenty thousand years. Egyptians used honey to embalm their dead. In Medieval times they discovered that the wax made good candles and in the First World War honey was used for healing wounds because it has antibacterial properties. Examples of different types of hives were shown to us and different types of actual dead bees. Krissie explained how the bees live and how the honey is harvested. About twenty thousand bees live in each hive, there is only one queen bee who is the mother of all the bees. She has a long body and after mating with the fluffy looking drones, who then die, she lays two thousand eggs every day. The worker bees feed her on royal jelly, which is a protein from the head of the worker bees the only bee to be fed on it, and she lives for about five years. Worker bees are the smallest, they feed the drones, of which there are about two hundred and fifty per hive, their only function is to mate with the queen. The workers, nearly two thousand, clean the hive, throw out the dead bees, do the foraging in an area of about one and a half mile radius, care for the brood, and decide when to make new bees. Krissie explained how and why bees swarm, and some of the diseases and pests that effect bees. They live an incredibly fascinating and organised existence,a nd although extensively studied they still have some behaviours that are a mystery. The speaker was warmly thanked for her most interesting and infomative talk. Honey from Krissie’s bees is on sale at Hughenden Village shop.

Please feel free to join us for our next meeting at 8pm in Hughenden Village Hall on March 1st when Valerie Statersfield is speaking to us on”Being a Head Teacher–a way of life”. The interesting object competition is for something beginning with the letter G.