The Co-op is further expanding its Plan Bee campaign by providing aspiring urban bee-keepers with free training and equipment. Life in the city can be better for bees than in the countryside, points out Chris Shearlock, the Co-op’s Environment Manager:
They can find flowers in city parks and gardens, and they are away from some of the pesticides that are threatening them on farmland. It’s a misconception to think that they won’t thrive in cities and towns. I’ve heard of honey being sold from apiaries around King’s Cross station in London.
In the end, what’s going to save the British honeybee, whose population has dropped sharply in the last 25 years, is its value to the economy: as fruit-tree pollinators and annual producers of 5,000 tonnes of honey, they’re worth 165m a year. Independent
Sales of honey have dropped for the first time in six years, as British bee colonies continued to decline due to colony collapse disorder and bad weather. Figures from the British Beekeepers Association revealed that nearly a third of hives failed to survive the winter of 2007 while a fifth of the UK’s colonies were lost in 2008. This has forced prices up by almost 18 per cent which has led to a fall in of some 5.4 per cent. The Daily Telegraph
I had some rather nice sweet and sticky urban honey the other day produced by a beekeeper from Stockport. The recent massive growth of interest in amateur urban beekeeping is a positive counterpoint to the general gloom besetting the industry. More on urban beehives.
The population of the UK’s honeybees continues to fall, with almost 20% of colonies dying last winter, according to figures from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). The figure is an improvement on the 30.5% for winter 2007-08 but is way short of the 7-10% which until the last five years had been considered acceptable. Average national losses of 19.2% were highest in the north of England at 32.1%, and lowest 12.8% in the east of England. Mass bee deaths termed colony collapse disorder are blamed on disease possibly compounded by pesticides, changes in agriculture, and climate. Bees are estimated to be worth around £200m to the UK economy thanks to the job they do pollinating crops.
Urban beekeeping is becoming all the rage in Britain. Omlet offers rather attractive hives as pictured above, perfect for installation in a garden or rooftop. They claim the hive, the beehaus, is inspired by the way bees live in the wild and built on the classic principles of beekeeping. They also provide service and support to keep bees in your garden. They also say the beehaus is specially designed for keeping bees in your garden or rooftop. See also New plastic hive promises affordable beekeeping (Guardian)
Tregothnan Manuka honey is the only Manuka honey in the world produced outside of New Zealand. A pot will set you back from £55.00-£75.oo. Very small quantities of Manuka Honey are being produced from the original Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) plantations at the Tregothnan Home Estate. Visit
It is estimated that there are 274,000 bee colonies in the UK. These produce an average of 6,000 tonnes of honey a year, managed by some 44,000 beekeepers. Honeybee numbers in the UK have fallen between 10 and 15% in the last two years due to colony collapse disorder.