By Diana: “Don’t go near a beehive if you’ve been drinking alcohol” was the stern advice given to members to Glossopdale W.I. at our February meeting. John Irwin, who keeps hives around Tameside, explained that, in the wild, bears which have feasted on berries emit an alcoholic aroma. Bees, scenting a potential honey thief, react aggressively and attack the intruder. Humans who give off the same aroma trigger the same response.

John’s talk revealed many fascinating facts. (Did you know that bees were around before dinosaurs? A 100 million year old fossil has been found in Indonesia!) He took us through the life cycle of bees, explaining the different roles of queen bees, workers and drones, and showing how he collects honey – and stray swarms.

In recent years bees have been under pressure, partly from varroa mite attacks and the use of nicotinoids. The W.I. is actively supporting a national campaign to safeguard bees and John’s well-illustrated and amusing talk was well received.

Glossopdale’s next meeting is on Wed, 9.30-12, March 18 at Glossop Labour Club. Visitors and new members welcome.