Over the last few weeks my life has been buzzing, with bees. From my garden being filled with busy pollinators, to trying my hand for the very first time as a bee keeper. This summer certainly has a buzz about it.
I’ve always been curious about keeping bee’s, curious but nervous too. Nervous about the responsibility, nervous about the stings! As someone who has never! Been stung before I wondered just what it would be like to put myself in the middle of hundreds of honey bees. When I got the invitation to join the Berkshire and Wiltshire Slow Food group For their bee keeping day curiosity got the better of me.
The event was hosted by Henge Honey with apiarist Dr Mark Fife starting the day with a entertaining talk full of waggle dancing (bees not Dr Fife!) and stories of ‘beards of bees‘. There was of course a serious side to the talk and the day; the protection of bees. Through drawing on his experiences of bee keeping Dr Fife spoke of the multiple issues causing bee decline; habitat loss (such as wildflower meadows), the varroa mite, general chemical use by conventional farming and specifically the deadly neonic pesticides.
The Henge Honey Hives are fortuitously situated in an area of organic farming. Organic agriculture bans the use of pesticides and herbicides and actively works with nature not against it. So with plenty of lush meadows around and a variety of crops grown, the Henge Honey Bees certainly get their pick of pollen, which leads to a lovely honey.
Then it was time for the practical, to don a bee keepers suit and meet the honey bee’s first hand.
I found being amongst the bee’s strangely hypnotic and actually quiet calming. Dr Fife talked us through his hive practices and also managed to show us the queen bee.
Whilst for now I don’t see myself starting my own hives, having this first hand experience and hearing Dr Fife talk has strengthened my resolve to do something to protect bees now.
With this in mind I am supporting the Neal’s Yard Remedy ‘Bee Lovely‘ campaign to save the bees and to petition for a ban on the deadly neonic pesticides. Bee Lovely is aiming to get 100,000 signatures, I’ve added my name to the campaign and you can add yours too here;
Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee work doesn’t stop there as they have also launched a range of Bee Lovely products that containing organic honey, to help raise funds for Bee charities. I have to say that the Bee Lovely hand cream has quickly become a firm favourite of mine!
So please Bee Lovely, support the campaign and save the Bees!