How beekeeping helps the environment. How you can help?

Are you helping to support bio diversity in your area?

The association between bees, beekeepers, the contents of your fruit bowl and the countryside that surrounds you.

If you live in or around Bodium, Burwash, Cranbrook, Etchingham,Goudhurst,Hurst Green, Rolvenden Layne, Robertsbridge, Stonegate, Sissinghurst or Ticehurst then you are just beyond the reach of the millions of bees housed in my beehives.

Bee and their Environment

A vast and abundant array of fruit and nuts are available to us at reasonable prices because their very formation began once they were pollinated by honeybees. Without bees, fruit flowers would have to be pollinated by hand. For many, fruit would become a luxury item because labour has to be paid for. The labour of honeybees is free but
they need to be cared for by beekeepers.

We treasure our countryside and its inhabitants but we should not be too complacent. If it were not for the relationship between bees and flowering trees, shrubs and plants things could be very different. Many birds and small mammals also depend on the pollinating activities of bees to feed them. In the autumn and over the winter it provides them with fruit, berries, nuts and a variety of many other seeds.

Bee on Rose

These creatures, in turn, become food for birds of prey, foxes, stoats and weasels.

In the countryside intensive farming has led to a huge decrease in nectar availability and the effects of chemicals sprayed on crops has reduced bee numbers even further.

I do not place blame on the farmers or the chemical producers. We demand cheap food and this is, for now, the only way of achieving it. Such a situation cannot last. Bees are needed to pollinate apples, pears, plums, cherries, soft fruit and much besides. In the meantime we need to halt the decline in bee numbers.
Here is how you can help. Make sure at least some of your garden provides bee friendly plants. The internet will help you or look at what friends and neighbours are growing. Visit gardens on their open days. Plant suitable varieties of flowering trees and shrubs paying particular attention to those that bloom in the early spring and late summer/ autumn.

Bloom

In the meantime we need to halt the decline in bee numbers.

For those who enjoy managing a lawn to perfection please ignore the next paragraph as the following suggestion has been known to cause apoplexy!

Try raising the cutting bar on your lawn mower a little and encourage low growing, white clover to flower. On ‘balmy’, still, summer days clover emits a wonderful scent and is very attractive to bumble bees. If the ground is moist honey bees will appreciate it equally.
If you have a large garden or a field, well away from neighbours then why not become a beekeeper. Help the environment and produce delicious honey for family and friends.

Want to try a practical, ‘hands on’ taster session? Why not join one of our beekeeping courses

If you live within easy distance of Tenterden, Appledore, Woodchurch, Wittersham, Northiam, Newenden, Sandhurst, Hawkhurst, Rolvenden or Benenden it is very likely that honeybees from John’s hives will visit your garden during the warmer months of the year. (Also within easy reach are bee keeping lessons and courses.)

Bee Keeping Courses in South East England

These bees produce a delicious, truly local, honey. Honeybees are attracted to open flower heads by scent and colour. As they seek nectar, powdery pollen particles, which are essentially male, adhere to their bodies. As they continue foraging, pollen grains brush against and stick to female receptors on other flowers of the same species. Pollination takes place and fertilisation will result in fruit formation and seed production.

Each type of flowering plant offers up its own unique essence in the nectar it produces. As this is syphoned up and enters the bee’s body it mixes with special enzymes and is transformed into dilute honey. Effectively, the honey produced by a particular plant will have its own, usually distinctive, flavour and healing qualities. Scores of flower types produce a delicious, multi floral blend. Honey is thickened by bees employing a variety of methods which include fanning their wings to drive off excess moisture. It will be then stored in the familiar hexagonal cells well know to most of us and capped with a thin layer of wax. This is produced from their own bodies and will keep air out. Created in this way, honey will remain fresh for years.

Many flowers produce an abundance of pollen; far in excess of their own needs. This is avidly collected and energetically passed to the bee’s hind legs where it collects in specially adapted pollen ‘baskets’, ready for transporting back to the hive. Pollen, an essential food for bees is converted into Royal Jelly providing the most important ingredients to raise brood and essential in the development of new queens. Honey provides energy for the adult bees and much is stored to see them through the winter. The beekeeper must judge how much he can harvest without overly depleting this larder.

Honeybees that can take advantage of both field and garden flowers will produce a delicious honey which contains beneficial traces of all the flower types they have visited.