Outside the Box was on the outskirts of Exeter in Shillingford Abbot last weekend, learning about bees and beekeeping with artist Louise Ann Wilson.
We were kindly hosted by Exeter Grower’s Co-Operative, who were visited by Steve Dummett, an experienced beekeeper from nearby Shillingford St George. He had been asked for advice on managing the EGC hives, and perhaps to help find a swarm.
It was pleasant to sit in a circle on the beautiful EGC site, watched by an interested crow, who seemed to regard himself as a member, nonchalant about a dog’s inept attempts at capture. Steve told us about beekeeping and feeding, the lifecycle of the queen bee and her successor, the loss and retrieval of swarms. I was interested to learn about wild swarms in the city centre, some of them close to the busy streets we pass along all the time. Next time you walk along Sidwell Street, look for the bees high up above you! We also learned how to remove a bee sting in the least painful way. Useful stuff.
Louise is designing her piece in response to all this and other encounters in Exeter last weekend, inspired by parallels between bees and humans and the structure of the hive.