A West Bridgford Asda employee enjoyed helping a group of local beekeepers as part of her role at the Asda store so much that she’s now a fully-fledged beekeeper.
Jo Thexton, who’s been in the role of community champion at the West Bridgford store for three years, first met the Quantock Beekeepers Association last year after a swarm of bees landed on the side of the store when the beekeepers were called to removed them.
Following Jo’s chance meeting with Ken Edwards from Quantock Beekeepers Association last summer, her interest in beekeeping grew. After contacting the association to find out more, Ken invited her along to the group to see how she could help them out with her community support and find out what she could learn from them.
Jo’s encounter at the store led her becoming a regular volunteer with the group and attending training sessions on how to keep bees for herself. She hadn’t imagined that calling the beekeepers would have led to her having her own beehive at home, a feat which means she can call herself a fully-fledged beekeeper.
Quantock Beekeepers Association were recently runners up in the West Bridgford store’s Green Token Giving vote, where Jo presented the group’s chair Barry Hewlett with a cheque for £200 which will go towards equipment. Jo continues to support the group through her volunteering and sugar donations, which are vital in the colder months.
Jo Thexton, Community Champion at Asda West Bridgford, said: “This the first year I’ve had them, and next year I plan on getting my own honey from them. We’ve also started collecting waste sugar from the store and donating it to them. Sometimes the packets are spilt when they arrive in store, and sometimes there are spillages on the shop floor.
“In the cold weather their priority is to look after the queen. But they can’t go out and forage, so you must leave them plenty of syrup to feed themselves and their queen. They then emerge in the spring.”
Ken Edwards, Beekeeper at Quantock Beekeepers Association, said: “We’re very grateful for the sugar and for all of Jo’s support. It’s been great to have her on board and she’s really embraced everything about beekeeping.
“She started coming along to our evening classes then our teaching centre learning the skills needed. We let her have a small beehive, and she took it from there.
“The sugar the store donated is mixed with water so it’s like a thick syrup. We feed it to the bees so it’s like a low-grade honey which sustains them through the winter.”