Many of you will already have visited our community garden, and perhaps you’ll have discovered the corner of the woodland where we keep a number of hives of honey bees to aid pollination of our produce and to help establish a wide biodiversity of wildflowers in the woodland.
We compiled the information below to answer any questions you might have about bee keeping. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why should we keep bees?
Honey bees are vital to the pollination and reproduction of plants, especially fruit trees and flowers. They are estimated to contribute millions of pounds to the agricultural industry each year. However the species are threatened by parasites, GM crops and a reduction in nectar sources.
Is it possible to keep bees in London?
London offers significant advantages compared with countryside beekeeping. It is warmer so the flowering season starts earlier and lasts longer, there are more flowers from parks, trees and gardens that supply a constant nectar flow and there is reduced danger from pesticides.
Where are the bees kept?
The bees are kept in Docwra’s Wood. The area where the hives are kept is fenced off from the general public and the gate is padlocked. The hives are positioned so as to force the bees to fly up and over; this will ensure that their flight path is up high, out of people’s way.
Is it safe to keep bees?
The hives house colonies of honey bees which are very productive and mild natured. They will only sting when they are provoked or frightened. After they have stung something they die. There are beehives in two of the Royal Parks; Regent’s Park and Hyde Park. Most people do not even know they are there and the bees go about their business without causing any problems to either animals or people.
Who looks after the bees?
The bees are looked after by two local bee-keepers, Alessia Bolis and Ian Bailey, who manage the bee hives at Hackney City Farm. They are licensed members of the British Bee-Keeping Association and have full public liability insurance. Any interested members are also welcome to get involved, and several members have already been trained to help care for the bees. Bee-keeping courses are run regularly. Please contact email@example.com for more details.
What to do if I see a swarm?
Swarming is a natural occurrence by which a colony splits and half the colony leaves to find a new home. We will monitor our hives and should know when they intend to swarm which will enable us to prevent it from happening. If you notice a swarm please call Ian Bailey 07943 892290 or Andy Parkinson 07967 278100 who can come to collect the swarm. If you can’t get hold of them you can call the police who have a list of local swarm collectors.
How much honey will we get?
This depends on the weather, the performance of the bees, and the skill of the beekeeper. An average hive produces anything between 30-200 pounds of honey per year. However, in the first year the yield will not be as much while the bees establish the hive.
How can I get involved?
There will be opportunities to attend bee-keeping talks and open days, and to taste and buy honey after each year’s harvest. Members of KHWG will be kept up to date regarding these events. If you wish to become a member of KHWG as either an allotment plot holder or access key holder, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org