Skip to content

// Your FirstPort Team

They may be the world’s hardest workers but honey bees need our help

At FirstPort, we love to share with our colleagues what our get up to when we’re not looking after our customers, and we’re encouraged to share our experiences and hobbies with customers, too.

During the week Nathalie Vignolle is an Assistant Development Manager at Repton Park on weekdays… but at the weekends she is a honeybee keeper at Oakland’s College at St Albans.

Saving the species one-step at a time, here is my story on how I became such a big honeybee lover.

Having always had an interest in wildlife, I developed a particular interest in honeybees, which led me to take a monthly evening course and spend time as an observer at Oakland’s College.

This year, I took the next step and started my very own hive.

Although just a hobby that I enjoy for my own pleasure right now, if there was sufficient interest in FirstPort developments I would love us to have more beehives and give residents more insights into the wonderful world of the honey bee.

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

Whilst we humans are becoming more aware of the vital importance of bees to our environment, with the fairly large number of beekeepers in the UK, they are still at risk of extinction with the worldwide bee population in decline.

The honeybees like all other bees it is a wild animal, but humans have found it an advantage to work with colonies of a bee. Keeping bees is an ancient tradition that is of great interest to young and old. If you go to a party and admit to being a beekeeper, will be inundated with questions about bees and may be in danger of blocking out all conversation.

I regularly take a stall at country shows, and the public are always keen to buy honey and fascinated to see the bees in an observation hive where children love to find the queen bee.

Each colony is unique and honeybees don`t read books – this is what makes beekeeping challenging, fascinating and extremely rewarding!

Did you know?

Honeybees are fascinating creatures that have evolved over 150 million years, and are the only insect that produces food eaten by man.

Honey bee factoids:

  • They can fly for up to six miles and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
  • The average worker bee produces only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime and can visits 50 to 200 flowers during a collection trip.
  • One bee has to fly about 90,000 miles – three times around the globe to make one pound of honey.
  • The bee`s brain is oval in shape and only the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
  • A colony of bees consists of 10,000 in winter up to 60,000 thousand in summer.
  • Honey bees have three castes: drones, workers, and queens. Drones are male, while workers and queens are female.

Interested? Feel inspired? Perhaps you know another FirstPort colleagues or customer who keeps bees. Give us a buzz (sorry).

Or Tweet your thoughts to us @FirstPortUK. We’d love to hear from you.

Nathalie's beehive

In amongst the hives

The beehive team

Nathalie and her beehive

A lot of honeybee colonies

This is one of my bee colonies

This is one of my bee colonies