The Bee Musketeers were appointed as a sub committee to look at the concept of training new members and beginner beekeepers. The name, Bee Musketeers, originated from Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Three Musketeers, because there were three members of this subcommittee and as it so happened three rhymed with bee.
It was decided that the training should take place at Crich Comrades Club which is where the Association holds its monthly meetings. Initially the meetings were informal so members could chat and socialise. The plan was to separate the beginners from the experienced beekeepers so the experienced beekeepers could continue to “prop up the bar” and socialise whilst the Bee Musketeers could start to train the new members in the fundamentals of beekeeping. What they did not account for was that everyone wanted to be included in the training and nobody wanted to be left propping up the bar!
It was fortunate that they could time the start of the training programme to commence at the beginning of the 2006 season. So in their wisdom the Bee Musketeers produced a document on what to do in the apiary each month. This document would be the criteria for each training session. This worked well and as time progressed the attendance levels of the meetings started to increase.
At the beginning of the 2008 season the Bee Musketeers went one stage further when one of them hit on the idea of producing a video prior to the meeting and showing it to the members. The first video of the DBKA Studios was shown at Crich in March 2008 to an audience of about fifty members. It was a great success and was well received by the membership. Members who had yet to acquire bees could see what was involved in opening up a bee hive and seeing how the bees react to a routine inspection. Word began get around and with the increase in attendance they had to purchase more equipment as although the Association had a digital projector and screen, there was no sound system which meant that one of our members had to dismantle his Hi Fi system each month and bring it to the meeting. Eventually extra equipment was purchased. The Bee Musketeers kept on producing videos and since 2008 they have produced 40 films amounting to 36hrs of film footage.
The Derbyshire Beekeepers Association maintains it can train beginners as well as entertain experienced beekeepers, through showing these films. The information comes from three people who between them have 70 years experience and the vast pool of knowledge of the DBKA membership behind them. The audience can see more of the action as opposed to apiary meetings where viewing can be limited. Also none of the members are stung apart from the cast in the films! The Crich meetings are open to non-members so if you are contemplating taking up the craft of beekeeping you will be welcome to come along. The meetings take place at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of each month at the Crich Comrades Club. Admission is just £1.00 which goes towards the excellent buffet the club provides. Drinks from the bar are extra.
We look forward to seeing you!
Mike, Ken and Paul – The Bee Musketeers.