I’ve not been writing lately because life has been busy – we moved into our new home in Truro (Cornwall’s only city, which the tourist board describes as ‘Our Great Little City’, presumably to lower expectations). I’m very lucky to now have my own little quiet back garden. It even has a pond – a water source for bees!
And yet I find myself in two minds about whether to bring hives here.
- The intoxicating sight, smell and sound of 40,000+ bees on a summer’s day
- Physical and mental health benefits of spending time with the bees
- Tommy can learn beekeeping too when a little older
Not to bee:
- Extra work and extra worry – potentially swarms may bother neighbours
- Tommy might want to poke his hands in the hives
- Could spend time gardening and building solitary bee homes instead
- Honey bees may impact wild pollinators. Twitter users @Kath_Baldock and Patrick A.Jansen recently tweeted about Lise Ropars’ presentation at the Ecology Across Borders (EAB) 2017 conference, reporting that wild pollinator visits in urban areas decreased when honey bee hive numbers increased. I really don’t want my beekeeping to be something I do at the cost of wild pollinators.
— Katherine Baldock (@Kath_Baldock) December 12, 2017
— Patrick A. Jansen 🐾 (@JansenLab) December 12, 2017
A poster summarising Lise Ropars’ & her colleagues research is available at ‘Impact of domesticated honeybee introductions on the wild pollinating fauna in a dense urban habitat: the case of Paris‘
Should I carry on? Or take a break and focus on making the garden wildlife-friendly? I feel so conflicted.
Starting a new life with the help of bees
It’s certainly heart-affirming to read this story – a Syrian refugee who has found his feet in the UK through starting up a beekeeping project for fellow refugees and jobseekers here: Syrian beekeeper tastes sweet success with British honey bees. “Bees mean to me peace, mean to me safety” says Dr Ryad Alsous.