Busy as bees at East Riddlesden Hall's apiary

Keighley News: Shelley Hollingdrake, left, East Riddlesden Hall’s community and learning officer, looks on as Aireale Beekeepers’ Association secretary, Sue Chatfield, and committee member Suzanne Starling, right, display a frame from a ‘virtual hive’ and a jar Shelley Hollingdrake, left, East Riddlesden Hall’s community and learning officer, looks on as Aireale Beekeepers’ Association secretary, Sue Chatfield, and committee member Suzanne Starling, right, display a frame from a ‘virtual hive’ and a jar

Staff at a tourist attraction are buzzing with excitement in anticipation of tens of thousands of bees making it their home.

Airedale Beekeepers Assoc-iation is waiting for the weather to improve before it moves ten hives – each of which can contain up to 60,000 bees – to a specially-created educational apiary at East Riddlesden Hall.

The new feature will allow the public to visit the hives and see first-hand how honey is produced.

Currently based in East Morton, the keepers have been looking for some time for somewhere they can make their work more open to the public.

They met with visitors to the hall on Saturday to let them know their plans and dispel any myths about bees. And despite the cold weather, people swarmed to the event.

Shelley Hollingdrake, of the National Trust, said: “People got to hear what beekeeping is all about and were shown the equipment they might use.

“The keepers were also there to dispel any myths about bees they might have – people have nothing to be frightened of. We have been busy making sure it will be safe for visitors – it will be a fantastic visitor experience.

“The beekeepers were looking for a more secure site, and being here they will have access to the hall’s facilities. The trust thought of how the hall would have been used in the past, and they would have had hives on site to make honey for the workers.”

She added: “Bees are declining worldwide, so we will do anything we can to make sure they don’t become extinct.”

There will also be beekeepers courses on offer to any budding apiarists.

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