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Your apiary safety

"Help I have been stung! Think I am having a reaction"

"Where are you?"

"I am at my apiary just outside Casterbridge on the A35. Under the Greenwood tree  on the ...."

What a nightmare for everybody. But there are ways to avoid this scenario.

When you get to the apiary put the car keys and your phone on the car roof. Putting the phone there  means more chance you will put it in the pocket of your bee suit and not the pocket of your jeans inside your bee suit.

Inside each hive roof put a laminated sheet with the following information.

  • Your name
  • Any relevant medical conditions you have.
  • The address of the apiary.
  • The postcode of the apiary
  • The grid OS grid coordinates of the apiary.
  • The latitude and longitude of the apiary.
  • The "what3words" for the apiary.


  • Your name because it may not be you making the phone call.
  • Relevant medical conditions such as asthma or allergies since that may affect your subsequent treatment.
  • The address of the apiary will help but is not precise enough when seconds count. An address such as Lamb Hill Farm Budmouth will not tell them that your apiary is actually 4 fields away up the hill.
  • The postcode is even less precise. It covers a selection of postal addresses and in the countryside it can be geographically quite a big area.
  • The grid OS is a great help. You can get this by finding the location of your hive on the OS map and then working out the Eastings and Northings. specify the full coordinates and the map as you may end up ringing an emergency control centre many miles away and they will need to know the map.
  • Latitude and longitude may help in some cases.The problem with these last two is that they are precise but so easily confused at times of stress. Was my latitude 52.3467 North or was that my Longitude and was it actually 52.4367 North. Help!One way round this is the app "What3words".
  • What 3 words maps the whole of the earth's surface and each location is defined by three words such as ""horses,person,apple". That will be a unique combination for a location. In fact I have just checked and it is near Ashland, Kentucky.

Your apiary has a 3 word combination which will locate it to within a 3metre by 3 metre square. I suggest you download the app now go to your apiary and find what 3 words locate your hives.

I see that the BBC website shows us that the front door of 10 Downing Street is "slurs,this,shark" and the journalists and photographers across the road are at "stage, pushy,nuns". Make of that what you will.

One note of caution - not all emergency services have adopted it as yet though I am sure they will.

Other ways to help with locating you are possible. On my own phone, which is a Samsung, there is a facility where I can go onto a website and locate my phone, as well as lock it, ring it and wipe it. This is not so useful if I am at the apiary but my wife can locate me if I am out on one of my long walks and I am late back.

In addition my phone will make a call to my wife in the event of me pressing the power button rapidly three times. It will also send her a picture of what ever the phone can see and my current location.

Another useful feature is the emergency contacts which anybody can ring from my phone even when my phone is locked.

Beekeeping is a safe and enjoyable hobby but is a good idea to make it extra safe. You never know...

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