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// Your FirstPort Team

How to ‘bee’ happy in your hobby

During the week Nathalie is as busy as a bee being an Assistant Development Manager at Repton Park. But come the weekend, she’s busy with bees in her role as a beekeeper.

Nathalie’s always been interested in wildlife, which is what spurred her on to go to monthly evening beekeeping classes and spend time as an observer at Oaklands College, St Albans. But her beekeeping dreams came true two years ago when she caught her own swarm and started her own hive, and she’s never looked back.

Honeybees are facing more than ever some serious challenges such as climate changes, diseases, predators, insecticides and humans.

“Humans are becoming more aware of the vital importance of bees to our environment, and despite there being a fairly large number of beekeepers in the UK, they’re still at risk of extinction because the global bee population is still rapidly decreasing,” explains Nathalie.

The decline of bees and honeybees has been widely reported worldwide, with a recent Biological Conservation journal revealing that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.

Nathalie has fully embraced her hobby and regularly takes a stall to local country shows to educate people about the crucial role bees play within the environment and global food chain.

“People are always really fascinated to see the bees in an observation hive and children love trying to find the queen bee,” says Nathalie.

“Every colony is unique and it’s what makes beekeeping so challenging, fascinating and rewarding. I hope my experience with honeybees will inspire others to look after them too, so that they can continue to pollinate our world for another 150 million years.”

 Did you know?

  • Insects make up the majority of creatures that live on land and offer key benefits to many species, including humans. They provide food for birds, bats and small mammals; pollinate around 75% of the crops in the world; replenish soils and help keep pest numbers under control. Honeybees have three castes or ‘groups’: drones, workers and queens. The drones are male, while the workers and queens are female
  • Honeybees have evolved over 150 million years and are the only insect that produces food that’s eaten by humans
  • They can fly for up to six miles and as fast as 15 miles an hour
  • Beekeeping usually starts early March until late September
  • The average worker bee produces only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in their lifetime and can visit between 50 and 200 flowers during a single collection trip alone
  • One bee has to fly about 90,000 miles – three times around the globe – to make 1Ib of honey
  • The bee`s brain is oval and the size of a sesame seed. However, it has the remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and makes complex calculations relating to things such as the distance it’s travelled and foraging efficiency
  • A colony of bees consists of 10,000 in the winter and up to 60,000 in the summer
  • Once mated, queens can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day