“If anyone knows of anyone who may have a swarm of bees in their garden. Please do get in touch with me!” This message from Hedon woman Kim d’Andilly was posted on Twitter this week and you might be forgiven that it was from a pest control firm touting for business – but that would be really quite offensive to Kim whose passion in life is keeping bees, caring for bees, and in fact she loves bees which prompted the name of her business Beeloved.
Collecting wild swarms of bees from gardens and homes is just one of the services offered by Beeloved which was set up Kim d’Andilly and her business partner Chris Rees last year. They will come and collect the bees for a small fee and provide a home for them.
It’s nothing new for Kim to collect bees in this way. Nearly 10 years ago Kim started her first hive by collecting a wild swarm. Kim’s journey into beekeeping – the correct term for her vocation is an apiarist – started in 2005 when she attended a 10-week horticultural course in beekeeping; she thought the course would be interesting, but little did she know then that it would affect her life in such a major way. Kim was fascinated by the bees and the lives that they lived. She soon joined the British Beekeepers Association and through their buddying and mentoring system she acquired more knowledge and collected her first bees and apiary.
“Collecting honey was really just a by-product of keeping the bees,” said Kim “you’ve got to keep your bees busy. Once the colony gets too big, then bees that are not busy will swarm. So farming the bees for their honey naturally keeps them occupied.
“I started selling the honey to family, friends, the local church, and neighbours, but it was really only a way to get rid of the surplus and it would sell really quickly. I’d use the money to resupply my hobby and it was very much a hobby at that time.”
So what prompted Kim to set up Beeloved as a business. “It was one of those life-changing decisions prompted by a change of home and faced with reaching the milestone age of 50 very soon. I started re-evaluating my life and professional work as a social worker and I got excited about the prospect of turning my passion for beekeeping into something I could make a living from.
“Between us (with her business partner Chris Rees – Ed) we have 18 hives and over 10 years experience in beekeeping. Our honey comes from our bees, it’s not blended with other honey like those you’d get from the supermarket. It’s pure honey, comes straight from the hive and is just sieved and put into the jars. There are no added ingredients.”
“We also harvest and melt our own beeswax from our hives into special moulds to create handmade candles. We also make natural beeswax and almond oil lip balms and gloss. They all make perfect gifts. My daughter Ruth has also made some beautiful bee-inspired bracelets which we sell through our online store on Etsy.”
But Beeloved is not all about the commercial selling of products. Reflecting Kim’s passion for bees and their lives, Beeloved will also offer Bee Talks to local community groups. The presentation and slide show on offer will cover everything you might need to know about the life of bees. Kim also has an observational hive to bring along. Safely behind glass you can actually see the bees at work.
Beeloved can also offer hands-on introductory courses about beekeeping. “Classes focus on the fascinating life of a bee,” says the Beeloved website. “You will have the chance to put a bee hive together, hold the brood and honey frames as well as learning how to use a smoker and what to look for when you’re inspecting hives.” And of course, as Kim’s story proves, who knows where you might end up after completing your course!?
Beeloved is currently visiting local craft fairs and markets where you can find out more about the business and products. Kim hopes to bring her Observational Beehive to the Hedon Festival and other community events across the Hull and Holderness area.
Hedon is home to lots of fascinating businesses run by entrepreneurs who are passionate and enthusiastic about their endeavours, but Kim’s passion for bees and Beeloved is infectious and certainly left this correspondent much more knowledgeable about both. And the honey? It’s gorgeous!
Beeloved has a marvellous website created by Kim’s daughter Ruth d’Andilly-Clune and partner Daniel Haigh who are both graphic designers.
Beeloved can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, search for WeAreBeeloved.
Photos: Thanks to Beeloved for the use of some photos for this article which can be seen in their full glory (compressed on Hedon Blog) on the Beeloved website.