BUSY BEE - NOT ME!
I have been a casual beekeeper for a number of years now. We started off with three hives of the local black bees which thrived for the first three years, then started to decline. Despite efforts to shore up the dwindling populations we eventually lost the last hive this winter. No sign of any disease, and despite a couple of poor summers we would not normally have expected these losses a few years ago.
The current decline in bee populations is well documented at the moment, and it does seem odd that urban bee keepers are not experiencing the same percentage of losses as those of us surrounded by countryside.
Whilst scanning the internet looking for all things bee I came across these bumble bee hives and bought one to see if it would prosper here. The small hive and the colony arrived a few weeks ago and is thriving wonderfully well, great to see as bumble bee populations are also under threat. I would encourage anyone who wants bees but no suit, smoker or stings (or honey }to look at these little marvels. There is absolutely no upkeep, but there are lots and lots of beautiful bees bumbling and pollinating round our garden again. Apparently the hive dies out over winter (although some queens will survive to start again next year} but the company simply supply another cassette population next spring, and I believe that for around £70 per annum this has to be one of the best investments we have made for some time – we are going to buy more hives next spring and dot them round the walled garden and orchard..
As I said earlier there is no honey, but there is no work involved either – ideal for the lazy environmentalist and for those of us who love to see those fat, striped little marvels hard at work whilst we sip a glass of chilled white wine.
Check out - www.dragonfli.co.uk/bees/beepol-lodge