He never set out to be a beekeeper. But somehow Ivor Kemp ended up with 50,000 of the fuzzy little creatures flying around his garden.

“The bees adopted me,” he chuckles.

“About eight years ago I went to the bottom of my garden and there was one of those black compost bins. I thought ‘what are those things flying about under the lid?’ “I took a few pictures and sent them off and they came back saying ‘congratulations, you’re a beekeeper’.”

Ivor, 54, said he’s still not really sure where the bees came from but, after a while, he grew quite fond of them.

“I contacted the East Dorset Beekeepers Association and a couple of experts came round and herded them into a hive. I’ve now got eight hives and I’m a bit of an expert. But you never stop learning. That’s the real benefit of being a member of the association – there are people that have been doing it for 50 years.”

Being honey bees, Ivor’s hives obviously produce honey, but he says that’s just a small part of his hobby.

“I love the whole idea of looking after what should be described as a single organism – it’s not 50,000 bees – a whole colony forms one organism, they’re all dependent on each other. They all have their own role in the hive, but they all work for each other. I love it through the whole year, watching the changes and how they adapt. I love watching which direction they’re flying off in and where they’re collecting the nectar from, it’s amazing.”

Being a member of the association, Ivor, who lives in Broadstone, is keen to promote the well-being and upkeep of honey bees, particularly to those who want to take up the hobby.

But he stresses training and education is of prime importance so beekeepers can look for possible diseases or something going wrong in the hive, which is why the organisation runs regular Saturday afternoons geared to newbies, who can practice without the pressure of having their own hive.

“One thing the beekeeper is very concerned about is swarming,” explains Ivor who, by day, is a graphic designer for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

“Bees swarm naturally and it’s one of their ways of reproducing. For a beekeeper that’s not very responsible because it could go down a chimney or into the roof.

“We check that they haven’t laid any new queen cells because then they’re going to swarm within about a week. From March to July give the hive a quick check once a week. To try and stop the bees swarming you have to confuse them by making them think they’ve swarmed, by moving half of them.”

Beekeeping is becoming a “green” hobby but Ivor is keen people realise problems do arise.

“But we are looking after an amazing creature,” he adds.