Richard: Well, we’re in one of the most beautiful regions of Portugal but we’re not here to admire the view, we’re here for another reason.
Jackie: Yes, we’re here to meet a man who not only sells honey but he sells all the equipment for beekeeping.
Richard: Yes, and that equipment obviously is a hive, and he also sells the bees in the hive as well which is very good for us. And obviously we need protection so um… he sells suits, which is very handy.
Jackie: Mmm, and that comes… and that includes a hat with a… with a veil over the face, doesn’t it?
Richard: Yes, and gloves as well. So we’ve got all the equipment, I can hear the bees, we just need to take them home and get everything set up.
Jackie: Now that we’ve got the beehive it’s important to find a suitable place to put them.
Richard: Yes, it needs to be sheltered from the wind, so our hive faces the east for the early morning sun…
Jackie: That wakes them up, does it?
Richard: Yes [laughs] and also not too close to the house either.
Jackie: Mmm cos I know the bees from er… this part of the world they can be quite aggressive, can’t they?
Richard: Yes, they certainly can. Well, the moment of truth. We’ve got the bees, they’re in position, I just need to release them now so I must admit I’m feeling a little bit nervous. Let’s hope they’re not too angry from their journey home.
Jackie: So, now that the bees are released, there’s nothing that we do now, Richard, is there?
Richard: No, er… we leave them to get used to their new environment and let them settle down so we leave them for a couple of days but then we must inspect the hive to make sure that everything is ok.
Jackie: Ok, so now the… the day of the inspection, Richard, what are you looking for?
Richard: Well, it’s good to try and find the queen, It’s difficult in a big hive, obviously there are thousands of bees um… so it’s difficult to find the queen, she’s a little bit longer than all the other bees. That’s one thing we look for, and also the other thing is just to see that there’s lots of eggs in their bee cells and also um… larvae erm… just to make sure that there’s no signs of disease, everything looks ok.
Jackie: Right, can you explain to me [laugh] I never quite understand, we bought… we bought two boxes and er… one of the boxes we put in the spot and we let the bees out. Now I know you’re going to put another box on top of that. Why are there two boxes?
Richard: Right, well the workers they make the tiny cells and they fill those cells up with honey. Now then the queen lays an egg in the cell and that’s where the new bees grow up…
Jackie: And… and er… the new bees they… they eat the honey, don’t they?
Richard: They eat the honey, exactly. So what we do is, we put another box on top of the lower box. Now the queen can’t get in the top box…
Jackie: Oh so she only… she only lives in the lower box.
Richard: Yes. But the workers get in the top box, they keep on making new cells and filling those with honey, so the queen can’t get up so these new cells are just honey and that’s what we collect.
Jackie: That sounds great. Well, I’m really looking forward to our new project but I’m not looking forward to being stung.
Richard: [laughs] Yes, me neither.