Meet Britain’s youngest beekeeper – a Scottish lad who already looks after his own colony aged just FOUR
Oscar Coull first took an interest in the subject last year and now works with his parents and a local community group to nurture his passion.
He keeps a diary to track his progress and make a note of his hard work – and even presents what he’s learnt to his friends at playgroup.
Little Oscar has got all of the gear, making sure to dress up in his protective suit and mask everytime he tends to the hive to stop himself getting stung.
With the help of parents Nick and Emily, he is working towards a junior certification – which would officially recognise him as the nation’s youngest beekeeper.
Oscar is also looking forward to tasting his own honey for the first time later this year – taken from the 12,000-strong hive he has lovingly cared for.
He said: “Bees pollinate our fruit and vegetables and are the number one most important being in the whole world.
“They are so cool because they were around when dinosaurs lived.”
Oscar, from near Alford, Aberdeenshire, is an accomplished beekeeper despite still learning to read and write properly.
His tasks include making and topping up the sugar syrup for his hive and applying and removing Apivar strips – used to treat dangerous Varroa mites.
He also carries out weekly checks and spends time trying to spot the all-important queen.
Oscar’s parents said he started as a three-year-old after they bought a hive as a hobby for father and son to work on together.
He is now in regular contact with local bee experts who help him out with tips and advice.
The colony is kept on land behind the family home.
Mum Emily, 32, said: “We are really proud of him. He’s a little eco-warrior.
“He’s always been involved in everything. He just loves animals. His two dogs are his best friends and he also has rescue chickens.
“My husband Nick has helped him with it – he’s more involved. It’s something nice that they do together.
“They are learning as they go.
“Oscar has been stung once, on the neck. He didn’t even cry. He just came in and said: ‘Naughty bees’. It went down within half an hour.”
Dad Nick, 34, said: “I’d never kept bees before. We had to buy the frames, the treatments and the food.
“We easily put in four to five hours a week – and that will increase during the summer months.
“It’s very rewarding. Oscar built the frames himself using a hammer and small nails.”
Engineer Nick added that he and Oscar are now thinking of setting up a second hive to split the colony as the numbers have doubled recently.
He said: “If bees start running out of space they think about swarming.”
Oscar’s parents are also working hard to get their son certified – but say that Scottish rules are working against them.
Emily said that she had been in touch with the Scottish Beekeeping Association but was told the organisation only qualified children aged ten or older.
They haven’t given up hope yet though, still updating Oscar’s portfolio regularly.
Britain’s youngest certified beekeeper is thought to be Archie Cridland, from Guildford Surrey.
He hit the headlines last year as the five-year-old keeper of an impressive colony of 60,000 bees.
Emily and Nick are sharing their son’s story in the hope that it will inspire other youngsters will take up beekeeping as a hobby.
She said: “More young people would probably really enjoy it. They could attend their local community club to see what they think.”
Oscar also has a 22-month-old baby sister, Everlyn, who Nick and Emily are hoping to get into her own bee suit by the end of the year.
Emily runs a tree supplier and planting business called Coull Trees, actively trying to restore woodland to cover Britain.
Oscar has already helped his mum to plant more than trees.