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.
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)