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Police sting! Inspector reveals bee-keeping hobby

'The best way to beat stress is to keep busy, we can learn a lot from bees'

01 August, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

AT work, he leads Camden’s neighbourhood police teams as they deal with the borough’s criminal activities.

But in his spare time at home, Inspector Richard Berns has turned his hand to a different kind of law and order – beekeeping.

Inspector Richard Berns has a colony of tens of thousands of bees living in a hive in his garden.

He took up the hobby in the spring in the hope that it may help with his hayfever.

On a weekly basis, he puts on his beekeeping suit to inspect how their honeycomb is forming.

Inspector Berns and his beehive

Inspector Berns said: “It was my wife’s idea – she liked the thought of doing something a bit different. “I like animals of all kinds and I was quite happy to give it a go. We have built up our hive now. It’s a reasonably sized colony, probably about 50 to 60 thousand bees.”

She added: “Local honey is thought to help with hayfever and, as a sufferer, I am ever hopeful. “I am self-taught with vlogs, books and speaking to other local beekeepers. Everyone does it slightly differently so it’s about picking up what works for you and your bees.”

Inspector Berns, a police officer of 16 years, said people can learn about how to manage stress from bees.

“The best way to beat stress is to keep busy, we can learn a lot from bees here,” he added. “They just get on with it and I find that is the best way to be at work, too. You have to be calm and relaxed with the bees or they will get annoyed with you.”

Inspector Berns in his day job

“They are quite low maintenance. You can do an inspection once a week and just check if they are OK and doing what they should be doing and the queen is laying eggs. You see their progress and you can literally see the honeycomb forming.”

But has he managed to evade their stings?

“I’ve been stung a couple of times,” said Inspector Berns. “One on my nose and one on my hand, but it was my own fault for getting in teh way.”

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