LSE Bees in the news

Beekeeping made it into LSE’s weekly newspaper, The Beaver, in 2013.  The article explained more about what we do as a society, and featured a great photo of our delicious honey!

As the winter was so mild, we may be lucky and get a spring harvest of honey – stay tuned!

Image

New times for hive visits

After a long winter hiatus where the bees enjoyed the mild weather and stayed happy and healthy, we’re back and ready for a new season of beekeeping.

Our new times for visits are:

  • Wednesdays 1.30pm at Passfield Hall
  • Wednesdays 2.30pm at Connaught House

Visits will start on Wednesday 9th April.  Look forward to seeing you there!

Bees and other pollinators

Did you know that the UK Government published a policy paper entitled Bees and other pollinators: their health and value in July of this year?

The paper (download here) was published by DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and is intended to form the basis for a National Pollinator Strategy which will bring together pollinator-friendly initiatives and provide an umbrella strategy for new action.

The DEFRA paper has all sorts of interesting facts – like did you know that there are 24 species of wild bumblebees and about 230 solitary bee species in the UK?  (Solitary bee species are different from honeybees in that they don’t form colonies).  And that pollination by insects is thought to be the main reproductive mechanism in 78% of temperate flowering plants?

It also talks about beekeepers – there used to be about 80,000 beekeepers in the UK at the end of WWII, but this has dropped to about 27,000 (although much better than the 15,000 registered in 2008).

Friends of the Earth (at whose conference the idea of the National Pollinator Strategy was launched) are calling on the government to make sure that the discussions that will form part of the strategy are bold and ambitious.  You can sign their ‘The Bee Cause’ petition here.

the bee cause

We’ll be following the strategy development with interest – we’ll keep you posted on what happens, but if you’d like to get involved, contact us for more information!

LSE Honey Festival

We’re really excited to announce that the inaugural LSE Honey Festival will be taking place on Wednesday 30 October from 1-2.30pm at Passfield Hall (1-7 Endsleigh Place, London, WC1H 0PW).

There’ll be a talk about beekeeping from Luke Dixon, our very own urban beekeeper, who looks after hives all over the city, as well as a hive available for viewing, honey tastings, a bake sale with all sorts of honey goodies, and a honey quiz where you can win some great prizes.

LSE’s official honey will also be on sale for £6/jar.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Honey festival poster

The best plants for bees

A new study has found that bees are most attracted to lavender and majoram – excellent news considering we have a lot of lavender on our central LSE roofs for the Connaught House bees!

Image

The study (full write-up here) was also summarised in an article in The Guardian online, which explains that:

“Scientists at the University of Sussex repeatedly counted flower-visiting insects that foraged on 32 popular summer flowering garden plant varieties, in a specially planted experimental garden on the campus. In the second and final year of study, additional gardens were set up to check the results.

Bees accounted for 85% of the visitors to the garden. Bumblebees were the most frequent visitors, followed by honeybees and a few solitary bees.

Highly bred varieties of lavender, including grosso, hidcote giant and gros blue were the most attractive to bumblebees, along with large single-flowered dahlias. Honeybees made a beeline for the blue borage flowers, and marjoram, a popular herb with small pinkish white flowers, was the best all-rounder, popular with honeybees, bumblebees and other bees, as well as hover flies, which accounted for 9% of the visitors, and butterflies and moths, just 2%.”

The labels have arrived…

The labels have arrived for our honey jars and they look great!  We’re going to get them onto the honey next week and then they’re officially on sale for £6 per jar.

If you’d like to buy a jar, email us at lsebees [at] gmail.com and we’ll put your name down for one.  You’ll have to collect it in person at LSE – perhaps during our honey festival at Passfield Hall, happening on the 30th of October (more details soon!).

The labels have arrived!

The labels have arrived!

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey…

LSE Bees achieved the most exciting milestone this year – we finally bottled our honey! 

We got 69 jars from the remaining hive on Passfield Hall (once again, we’re leaving the honey in the Connaught House hives to last them over the winter) and it tastes absolutely delicious…  It’ll be for sale for £6 a jar, so if you’re interested in getting some, leave a comment below this post or send us an email to lsebees [at] gmail.com.

But how did we do it?  Well the lovely people at the Bee Collective were in charge, getting the honey out of the frames using a centrifuge before we came along for the fun part – bottling!

Our honey was in a big bucket, and Dan and I had to slowly, slowly open the tap and fill the jars.  It was really interesting how it was so much lighter once it was in the jars as compared to the bucket, and it has the most delicious smell and taste.  Check out the photos and the video!

 

How bees make honey

A new video from the Guardian shows beekeeper Becky Chadd talking about how bees make honey.

Here’s the description of the video: “Bees have amazing communiation and organisational skills. When a bee finds a good source of nectar it will share this with the hive by performing a ‘waggle’ dance. Once the nectar is deposited in the honeycomb, a bee will then fan it with its wings until it has reached the perfect consistency for honey. Watch beekeeper Becky Chadd realease her bees in the New Forest and explain the many intricate talents of the much-loved honey bee.”

Check it out!

Hive visit 21 August 2013

Here’s a quick snippet of the visit to the Connaught House hive today (21 August 2013). This is our second hive, so it’s not as well established as our original one, but still buzzing with activity!

Is there such a thing as organic honey?

While we’re confident that our bees are eating pollen and are producing some delicious, ‘real’ honey, we’re unable to call our honey organic. 

Actually, according to this article, there’s no such thing as organic honey in the UK.  Only imported honey (from countries like New Zealand or Brazil) can legitimately use the term organic.

Regardless, we’re really looking forward to getting it in jars soon – hooray!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.