Gressenhall is to have bees again! An update from Daniel Johnson, Landscape Heritage Management trainee.
We have begun cleaning up the old WBC hive that was set up in the wildflower meadow at the top of the farm. ‘WBC’ stands for William Broughton Carr; the man responsible for the design of this traditional hive first constructed in 1890. A modern hive complete with a colony of bees belonging to Venetia Rist, a local beekeeper living in Gressenhall village will soon be inserted into the WBC structure following its renovation.
We are at the first stage in the clean up process- deep freezing the outer frames or ‘lifts’, along with the drawers or ‘supers’ as they are known, and the old foundation frames onto which the worker bees graft their wax cells and store their honey.
Temperatures in the freezer will drop to -32°c. Once the extreme cold has killed off any woodworm and other bugs or grubs the hive will be treated to a pressure wash and gentle sanding before being finished in a resplendent white paint (bee-friendly, of course!).
Honey Bees have had a difficult time of late with many colonies collapsing or in serious decline. It may be some time before we are fortunate enough to be producing much honey here at Gressenhall, but the presence of the bees and a traditional, functioning hive in a historical setting will be a welcome site this summer.