How did you get into beekeeping?
“I’m an artist and rent a studio in Broedplaats VKG (in the back wing of Volkshotel) so I’m not a professional beekeeper. It all started when I was a young boy with a fascination for small creatures and insects. A couple of years ago, I got in touch with Geert, an Amsterdam beekeeper. He inspired me to take a bee course, where I learnt the theory and practice. That’s when the ball really started rolling.”
Tell us about your colony in Volkshotel?
“Three years ago, after I finished the course, we placed a cabinet on the roof and put a caught swarm of bees in. The bees were an after-swarm, late in the season with a really young and weak queen. A storm knocked the hive over and they didn’t survive the winter. The year after we got another swarm in but they didn’t survive last winter either. We were about to give up on our plan thinking the bees didn’t like this spot when some scouting bees arrived on Good Friday this year. The day before Easter I got a message from a neighbor who can see the roof. He saw a swarm of thousands of bees moving into my hive. They chose the hive themselves this year and they really seem to be doing well this year. They already build a lot of comb and collected pollen in all colors, so me and my bee-sister Sameena are positive they’ll make it.”
So, can we expect Volks-honey soon?
“Our goal is not specifically to make as much honey as we can. We are what you call organic and dynamic beekeepers, so we let the bees ‘hibernate’ with their honey. What is left after the winter, we can take and sell. In spring they’ll make new honey again. We also don’t use any pesticides. So next spring we might have our own honey. So let’s catch up soon and I’ll give you an update about our bees!”
Photos: Dennis Verbruggen (maildennisVerbruggen@gmail.com)