Artificial intelligence theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
Bees won’t sell you honey if you offer them an electronic funds transfer.
However, we will!
In this post we’ve tried to answer some questions you might have about LSE Honey. If your question is not answered here, leave a comment and we’ll add it in!
Where does the honey come from?
LSE Honey 2016 comes wholly from our three hives on the roof of Connaught House in Central London (the fourth colony is still young, so we do not harvest from it yet). Here’s a photo of our hives:
What does the honey taste like?
Some commercially available honey is monofloral, i.e. predominantly from the nectar of one plant species. Most varieties of supermarket honey are also ‘blended’, i.e. comes from hives all over the world. We have nothing against ethically-produced monofloral honey (in fact there are some varieties we like a lot!) but our own bees are free to fly around London and pick what flowers they want to forage on. Having said that, due to the abundance of lime trees in Central London, our honey has a lovely, light, citrusy flavour.
Where do the bees forage?
The typical foraging distance for European honey bees is believed to be around 3 km, though Beekman and Ratnieks (2000) found bees routinely flying over 6 km and sometimes over 10 km from their hives. But even with a conservative 3 km estimate, as you can see from the map below, our bees can collect nectar from as far afield as St James’s Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park and even Hyde Park.
Is the honey ethically produced?
Absolutely. This is what our professional beekeeper, Dr Luke Dixon, has to say:
We don’t keep bees to be producers of honey, though we do harvest a sustainable amount from strong colonies. Primarily the purpose of our beekeeping is to support the declining pollinator population and the richness of biodiversity in the city. At all times we follow current best practice and advice from the National Bee Unit.
Do pollution and traffic fumes affect the quality of urban honey?
On the contrary, it is likely that urban bees make better honey! The European Environment Agency confirms that ‘city traffic fumes and pollution do not harm the bees or their honey’ because in the process of converting nectar to honey, the bees filter out heavy metals and other pollutants. A study by a French beekeepers’ association found that bees reared in cities are healthier and more productive than their country cousins, largely due to the use of pesticides and monoculture which are both more prevalent in the countryside. However, this does not mean that there are no downsides to urban beekeeping: a 2013 study found that traffic fumes can affect bees ability to find food.
My honey has crystallised, what should I do?!
Don’t worry, crystallisation is entirely normal and does not mean the honey has gone bad. Decrystallising it is very simple; we have a detailed post (with pics) which shows you what to do.
I have purchased a jar of honey. Where can I collect it?
If you have already paid for your jar online, you should soon receive an email confirming the date and time when you can collect it. If you’re unable to collect on that day, you can send a friend, or send us an email and we’ll try to arrange an alternate collection date.