Citiesno Goodfor Making Honey? Beehive Yourself; GOT THE BUZZ? HOW URBAN BEEKEEPING IS TAKING OFF Once a Hobby for Old Men Who Smoked Pipes, Keeping Bees Is Now a Hit among Fashionable Types. with a Litte Help from the Experts

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), February 2, 2018 | Go to article overview

Citiesno Goodfor Making Honey? Beehive Yourself; GOT THE BUZZ? HOW URBAN BEEKEEPING IS TAKING OFF Once a Hobby for Old Men Who Smoked Pipes, Keeping Bees Is Now a Hit among Fashionable Types. with a Litte Help from the Experts


Byline: ANNA BURNSIDE anna.burnside@trinitymirror.com

FORGET distilling gin on the kitchen table or foraging for weeds to make a salad. This year, the coolest DIY dinners contain honey from the back green.

Beekeeping is the latest traditional craft to be discovered by young men with beards and women with avocados tattooed on their forearms.

But these newbees coexist perfectly happily with the old timers who are delighted to pass on their skills and experience to a new generation.

Glasgow & District Beekeepers' Association have been going for 100 years. Wild honey has been collected for the last 10,000 years and the first hives were used 9000-odd years ago. And while the suits have got more hi-tech, the basics are unchanged since then.

What has changed is the locations. Hives are popping up on roofs, back courts, car parks and other unexpected urban locations. Bees don't care about the view. They just need access to flowers and plants. Weeds and bramble bushes along railway lines will do just as well as country meadows.

Ed O'Brien has 26 hives across Glasgow. They are in the front and back gardens of his flat in Pollokshields and in various friends' gardens too.

He is helping a chef at the Blythswood Hotel with his bees and wriggles up to the roof via an air duct to check on the colonies there. Then there are hives at Hutchesons' Grammar School, where he supervises pupils caring for their bees.

Some of his other girls - beekeepers lovingly refer to their matriarchal colonies as "girls" - are in Rouken Glen Park, the Coach House Trust's garden off Great Western Road and in the old heliport beside the SEC on the Clyde. And when he's not looking after his own girls, he's mentoring the groovy young things who are putting up hives in their back greens in Dennistoun and Strathbungo.

He said: "For years, we were cranky old b******s. Then suddenly we were cool. Beekeeping has become trendy, unfortunately. Although it does bring up the plight bees are facing. It was nice to fly under the radar and pretend you smoked a pipe. Now we're seeing all these young women taking it up.

"People don't realise you can keep bees in the back garden of a tenement. Of course you can."

Ed is the living proof. His mum kept bees in their home in Glasgow's west end for years. A friend roped him in to adopt a hive 20 years ago and he has been pottering around in a hat with a net ever since.

In his last flat in the south side, the only grief he ever got was from his wife that the hives were too near her washing line. In the summer, her clean sheets would soon be spotted with tiny specks of bee poop. But if the laundry is out of reach, a colony of good-natured bees can coexist happily with a block of flats.

Ed said: "Half my neighbours didn't even realise I had bees. Then I would give them a jar of honey. They found out that they don't bother them at all."

Ed chooses his bees carefully. The most productive honey producers are the most unpleasant to be around.

He said: "A lot of the best bees for honey production are bad natured. …

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Citiesno Goodfor Making Honey? Beehive Yourself; GOT THE BUZZ? HOW URBAN BEEKEEPING IS TAKING OFF Once a Hobby for Old Men Who Smoked Pipes, Keeping Bees Is Now a Hit among Fashionable Types. with a Litte Help from the Experts
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