Is this Norfolk’s youngest Bee keeper?
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Most teenagers are hooked on computer games, but Ben Sullivan gets a buzz from beekeeping.
The home-schooled 14-year-old who lives in Weeting, near Thetford, is celebrating his first crop of honey from his hive.
'I first looked into a bee hive when I was just 10 years old because of my love of honey,' he said.
'I had my first swarm when I was 12 but unfortunately the queen bee wasn't laying correctly and therefore the hive wouldn't have survived, so I gave it to an experienced beekeeper. Last summer, when I was 13 I went with a fellow beekeeper and collected another swarm from which I have recently harvested my first honey crop.'
Ben is a member of West Norfolk and Kings Lynn Beekeepers' Association and secretary Rachel Scrafield said: 'Ben passed the British Bee Keeping Association (BBKA) junior basic assessment and to the best of my knowledge, he is the first young person in Norfolk ever to have achieved this.'
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Ben said keeping bees was not always a bed of roses.
'Bees don't always do what you hope they'll do, so you have to prepare for a number of different situations,' he said. 'I have been stung many times, but you do get used to it.'
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Two years ago Ben, along with his mentor, decided to use some of his wares and make candles and lip balm to sell.
He said: 'You can never tell what you are going to find when you visit the bees. Harvesting the honey, eating the honey and making things from the wax are really enjoyable. But the best thing is visiting the bees and not getting stung.'
To encourage more young people to become bee keeper, Ben had this message.
'It is time consuming all year round and can be quite costly, but it is a great experience to be able to see the development of the hive and benefit from the harvest. If anyone is interested in beekeeping I would suggest contacting a local beekeeper or beekeeping association to find out more information.
'West Norfolk and King's Lynn Beekeepers are very friendly and have helped me to get where I am now. They have regular events throughout the year which provide lots of support for all the different aspects of beekeeping. There is always an experienced beekeeper available to give help and advice when needed.'
For more information go to www.wnklba.co.uk