Buzzing with enthusiasm for headlines and practical experience

Getting practical with bees_LRThere are some things that just lend themselves to corny headlines and clichéd lines. Most stories about bees seem to fall into that category. I’ve been fortunate enough to write about ChemCentre’s research into certifying monofloral honey (that’s honey from one flower species, such as jarrah or karri) in this story: ChemCentre puts honey on the menu. And I’ve previously written about international bee research for Farming Ahead magazine – ‘High tech bee research aims for sweet success’ (Farming Ahead, January 2016).

I find the whole topic of bees and honey fascinating, so when I had the opportunity to begin to get some practical experience helping friends’ out in their beehives, I flew at the chance. There’s nothing like real world experience to put theory into perspective and to add colour to your writing. With bees that perspective can pack a punch or, more accurately, a sting. In my case, on my second foray into a hive, I ended up with three bees buzzing around my head on the wrong side of the veil; the wrong side being the same side as my face.

My friend and beekeeping mentor Helen managed to squish one of them before it stung me; but the other two stung – it’s tempting to say that I was stabbed in the back but took it on the chin, as that is exactly what happened; one stung me on my chin and one on the back of my neck. Stings aside, the experience was a good one. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t sufficiently daunted by the stings (nor by the weird looks I got down the shops the next day when people noticed my swollen, misshapen face) to stop my exploration of beekeeping. I’ve been back into the hives again since and have plans to continue my apprenticeship. Reading and writing about bees and honey research is always interesting, but there’s nothing quite like sticking my head in a hive to find out what bees are really like. I could wax lyrical about their busy little lives, although I feel that could come to a sticky end.

The pointy end of this blog really is that sometimes a well-placed cliché and even a little bit of corniness may make a tasty subject even sweeter; I think it depends on the audience, but tread carefully lest you get stung.