Meet The Bees
Great Fosters has been keeping bees since April 2011 under the watchful eye of David Arpino. David became involved in the art of bee keeping in 2007 and has found the pastime to be both fascinating and absorbing. Great Fosters started with 3 “cottage garden” (WBC) hives and 3 small colonies of bees in the Spring of 2011. Not expecting to harvest any honey until Autumn 2012 our bees surprised us all by producing over 30lbs of fantastic heather-rich honey in September 2011 – a whole year early!
After such success 2012 has seen the arrival of 11 more hives with the intention of increasing our apiary so that we can serve Great Fosters honey to our guests at breakfast and hopefully have some available for guests who might wish to purchase some to take home.
Such has been the interest in our bees that we have decided to share this incredible experience with our guests. We aim to keep things small and select - a must for happy bees – and have invested in a couple of bee keeper suits so that David may carry out guest tours in addition to his bee keeping role. Visits are available for a maximum of 2 guests (at the moment) and are subject to weather conditions being suitable and temperament of the bees. Our Bee Master, David will assess the conditions by 12 noon on the day of your visit.
Suits with a veil, hood and gauntlets will be provided by the hotel. Wellington boots can also be provided or you may wish to bring your own. Please wear long sleeves and long trousers and avoid using perfume/after shave or consuming alcohol prior to your visit. Our bees are generally very friendly and like a calm environment with no dramatic movements. Treat them with respect and they will treat you in the same way.
Visits are available at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on Fridays throughout May to September and should be pre-booked by calling Reception on 01784 433822. Some visits may be available "on the day" if all time slots have not been pre-booked. Should you wish to arrange a visit on another day please email your request to Reception and they will liaise with David regarding his availability.
Visits are open to hotel residents or anyone dining in the hotel.