Photo of Ann Chilcott, owner and author of Beelistener websiteThe inspiration for this blog came in 2019 from Anka Slodek from Edinburgh who asked if I had a blog as she would like to know more about my beekeeping and related projects. My IT-literate and bee-hunting nephew, Iain Wilson, from Sydney, Australia set up this website for me. Thank you to both Anka and Iain for setting me off on another adventure in beekeeping.

I started beekeeping towards the end of 2004 at a completely ridiculous time of year to begin such an endeavour that requires much thought and planning, not to mention a class or two in beekeeping for beginners (see Smallholder Article for details). However, I worked hard over that first winter reading all the relevant material that I could lay my hands on and it turned out alright for the bees and me, we all survived.

I gained a Higher National Certificate (HNC)  Countryside Management in 2008 from the then Scottish Agricultural College (Now SRUC), and later The Scottish Expert Beemaster Certificate from The Scottish Beekeepers Association.

Where I live in rural Nairnshire is an ideal place to keep bees with access to forage in woodlands, field crops, village gardens, moorland, and riverside. The micro-climate of the region close to the Moray Firth is moderate and kind to bees.

My beekeeping sister, Christobel, was a tremendous help and support in the early days though she lived at the other side of the country. Christobel gave me my first hive tool, signed me up for SBA (Scottish Beekeepers Association) membership and came north in the spring to do my first hive inspection with me. Later, I inherited her bees when she gave up beekeeping after many years.

My original plan was to keep a couple of hives in the garden as an interesting wee hobby, but it snowballed. I must have been bitten badly by the beekeeping bug, for which there is no known cure to date, because I worked my way through the Scottish beekeeping exam system. I’ve really enjoyed teaching  other beekeepers throughout Scotland (for 3.5 years) with Tony Harris, NDB, on, The Healthy “Bees” (Bee Education in Scotland) Project Courses arranged through Moray Beekeepers’ Association.

I spend a lot of time supporting local beekeepers, giving beekeeping talks and reading and writing about bees. Recently, my review of Thomas Seeley’s The Lives of Bees was quoted on the Princeton University Press website. My own education continues and every season I learn something new from the bees.