I started July off by helping out at the annual Northfields allotment open day. Tom usually goes along with his observation hive and honey for sale but he couldn’t make it this year. He had warned me it would be busy but I hadn’t realised quite how busy. There were over 700 visitors and it felt like nearly every one came to see the hives! I’d borrowed a deckchair but it went unused as I was on my feet for four hours straight with queues of people waiting to come by.
— EalingToday.co.uk (@ealingtodaycouk) July 1, 2017
What do people ask about bees?
There were some common themes…
- Do you get stung?
- How much honey do you get?
- How do the bees find their way back home?
- What are the bees in my garden/wall/floorboards?
Some of the children were budding honey experts; one little boy was telling me all about his visit to France where he visited a honey farm. A few children didn’t like honey but most did and wanted to try some – I had a couple of different honeys for them to try. I discovered I should have brought wet wipes as towards the end everything got very sticky!
I had some photos up of some of the different solitary and bumble bee species and it was nice to see how amazed people were about the number of bee species we have here in the UK. It’s around 250! And only one of those is the honey bee.
Most people were very friendly and interested by the bees. I did get a bit frustrated by people who got grumpy about me not selling honey. That’s my personal choice! And I’m quite glad not to have spent days before hand labelling up honey and then an afternoon having to find the right change for people. A recent charity event I helped out at where someone ended up scamming us over a cash payment has put me off that kind of thing.
Many visitors were telling me that local honey helps their hay fever, privately I wonder if this is mere placebo effect but I wasn’t going to tell them not to buy it. Even if it doesn’t help it’ll taste good! The Apiarist has just published a blog post – Honey and hay fever – which sums up some of my reasons for being skeptical about it. For instance, most hay fever sufferers react to grass pollen – which of course honey bees don’t collect, because grasses are wind pollinated.
Anyway, it was a nice day, good to see people enjoying the allotments and appreciating the bees.