Bees have arrived at Lullingstone!
Beekeeping is all the rage so we thought we'd have a go too. The bees arrived in the World Garden in the Summer of 2011. And in 2012 we produced our first pots of Lullingstone World Garden honey - four of them! Delicious.
Each hive is home to around 60,000 bees in the Winter, rising to 120,000 in the Summer. The Garden is abuzz.
The Dartford Beekeepers' Association is currently providing all the technical support to Lullingstone and a huge thank you to them. William, in his early 90s, can be seen on the left checking the hives.
On Monday 29th August 2011 Mick Brown and William gave our first beekeeping demonstration - watch this space for more bee events!
They pollinate our crops
Some say as much as 1/3 of our food is pollinated by bees - including fruit, vegetables and nuts. In 2007, the National Audit Office estimated the value of the bees' services at £200m a year. The retail value of what they pollinate was valued closer to £1bn.
They provide us with honey and beeswax
There are many uses for both honey and beeswax, including for consumption, candle-making and medicinal purposes.
They help plant variation
Through cross-pollination seed production is increased, contributing to floral diversity.
Can you guess what these are for?
(from left to right:)
1. A Queen Bee 'catcher'.
2. To put the Queen Bee in for marking.
3. Liquid to mark her with.
4. The protective container you put the Queen Bee in when introducing her to a new hive - so that the bees get used to her (rather than killing her) before she is released into the hive.
Useful Links & News
Pesticides hit queen bee numbers, BBC News Online, 28th March 2012