A colony of bees is a super-organism. The queen who lays all the eggs daily, approximately three thousand drones (male bees) and possibly 50 - 60 thousand female worker bees work in harmony at the peak of summer in the hive.

The bees work together for the colony to survive, no one bee can live alone. The numbers reduce throughout the winter to rebuild again in the spring.

Bees forage and collect pollen, nectar and water to feed their queen, the young larvae and themselves. Whilst foraging, they pollinate fruits, flowers, vegetables and crops of which we eat daily. Every third item of food is deemed to be because of pollinating insects.
The spare honey in the hives is removed by the beekeeper and enjoyed as one of the most natural nutritious, and healthy foods available.

So why become a bee keeper?

To help support and care for these amazing bees in their colonies, to help them to survive, because without them we would struggle to exist .

Let's just consider what makes honeys bees so very special and why certain individuals feel they want to become a beekeeper.


Take into consideration:

Pollination
- as explained honey bees are massive pollinators providing food not only to humans but the effect of pollination helps feed numerous animals and birds in the food chain forging a vital link in creating the diversity in the environment we all enjoy.

Honey
- keeping honey bees results in acquiring a supply of your own honey for your family.

Honey produced by pollen and nectar collected from Wildflowers has a different flavour to one produced from brambles or lime trees. Sampling the various honey is a wonderful experience. Medicinally, raw honey is stated to boost the immunity system, relieves sore throats, provide antioxidants, aid digestion, reduce allergies, heal wounds, and provide antibiotic properties. Honey can be sold by the beekeeper in many different formats: runny honey, crystallised honey, soft set honey, heather honey, honey on the comb and numerous others.

Honey can be used for cooking both in sweet and savoury dishes.
Beekeepers have local and national honey shows, where they can if they wish, exhibit honey and other hive products.


Pride In helping nature
- Honey bees are threatened by disease and predators, beekeepers support the bees by providing hives in suitable apiaries; they aim to prevent disease and monitor for disease and predators, their actions can reduce loss of colonies and strengthen the honey bee population. Recently new predators to the UK or close to the mainland have added further risks to their existence. Putting on the bee suit, and helping care for the honey bees is a wonderful experience and privilege.

Beeswax
- this beautiful natural substance is produced by honey bees and moulded in the hive to create the hexagon-shaped cells into which the queen lays her eggs. Beekeepers often use the beeswax to make a variety of candles, polish, skin creams, cosmetics, wax for wood, and use wax for encaustic paintings, to name only a few uses.


Propolis
- yet another amazing product produced by the bees by using sap collected from trees and mixed and blended with bee enzymes. The propolis acts very much like a super glue, it seals the hive and fills in cracks and holes to prevent weather, dampness and unwanted visitors gaining access to the hive through small crevices. 

The propolis also has an antibacterial property and is used within the hive to reduce risk of infection, also frequently used in hand and skin products due to its anti microbial and antioxidant benefits.

 

Mead
- Honey is used to make mead , an alcoholic sweet or dry honey wine, which is basically fermented honey mixed with a variety of ingredients . The tradition of mead making goes back to our ancestors.


Bee stings

It would be wrong of me not to mention bee stings. Bees do not want to sting, if they do they die, the sting once used causes damage to the abdomen of the honey bee resulting in death of the bee. The bees only want to protect their hive and care for their colony.
Generally a bee sting is not a cause of great concern to the major of individuals, with the sting giving a slight local reaction, which soon disappears.

A fact not actually proven, but thought to be effective in some, is that the venom of the bee relieves arthritic pain, this is an interesting subject being investigated.


Royal jelly

A powerful food. Literally made for a queen , this jelly is made from honey, nectar, digested pollen and other secretions from the bee resulting in a food substance, it is fed to all bees for a short time, but constantly fed to the growing queen bee.
This amazing substance is sought after by humans with claims that it rejuvenates skin and produces an overall general well being.

Education

Part of being a good beekeeper is being aware of the honey bees needs and their predators. The Rugby Beekeeping Association provides friendly monthly meetings where beekeepers meet and listen to speakers discussing various topics , the Association also offers the education, mentorship and support necessary to care new beekeepers and their bees.

Courses are also run locally for new and more experienced beekeepers to continue to update and provide a better understanding of the honey bee.

For further information please contact us.


Beebase

Beebase News Web feed
  • Starvation Alert
    29 November 2018
    Beekeepers should continue to monitor their colonies throughout the winter as temperatures in some regions of the UK have been unusually high for the winter months, allowing honey bee flight and forage of pollen. In some cases, small patches of brood are still being reared and the demand on the colony's food resources ongoing. 

    Where temperatures do not allow for a sugar syrup feed, fondant icing can be placed directly on the top bars of the colony, above the cluster and fed as required.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

  • Importing Animals and Animal Products If There’s No Brexit Deal
    28 November 2018

    Defra have published guidance on importing animals, which includes bees, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. The information can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/importing-animals-and-animal-products-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

    Specific honey bee information will be provided on BeeBase as soon as it is available.

  • Northern Regional Bee Inspector Vacancy
    06 November 2018
    A Regional Bee Inspector Vacancy is now live on the Civil Service Jobs website. The area we are recruiting in is:

    Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Wirral and Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland (Northern Region) - Please contact the National Bee Inspector Julian Parker if you have any questions about the post. His contact details are as follows:
    Email: Julian.Parker@apha.gov.uk
    Phone: 07775 119469

  • The National Hive Count 2018
    01 November 2018
    The 2018 Hive Count launches today (1st November)!

    More information can be found here.

    This year the emails will be sent out using the Government Notify system and you will receive an email from national.hive.count@notifications.service.gov.uk. Please make a note of this mailbox and mark it as a friendly to prevent it from being blocked by your email provider. Any replies to this mailbox should still reach us directly.
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector Vacancies in Greater London and Co. Durham
    22 October 2018


    Seasonal Bee Inspector Vacancies are now live on the Civil Service Jobs website. The areas we are recruiting in are:

    Greater London, London, Kent (South Eastern Region) - Please contact the Regional Bee Inspector Sandra Gray if you have any questions about the post. Her contact details are as follows:
    Email: Sandra.gray@apha.gov.uk
    Phone: 07775119430

    Northern Region - Co. Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. (Northern Region) - Please contact the National Bee Inpsector Julian Parker if you have any questions about the post. His contact details are as follows:
    Email:Julian.parker@apha.gov.uk
    Phone:07775119469


    Kind regards,

    National Bee Unit