Following the success of last year’s spring trip to Kew Gardens, the society headed back to the Gardens on Sunday 29th October, to appreciate the beauties and secrets of autumn, and of course learn about bees and beekeeping.
The highlights of the trip included a visit to the Palm House, where we learnt about the importance of bees for pollination of plants such as coffee, as well as the effect caffeine has on the bees. Incidentally, Professor Lars Chittka, whom we invited to deliver a talk at LSE last year, has done some fascinating research on how caffeine boosts bees’ memories.
Of course, the Kew experience would not be complete without a visit to the The Hive installation. We were lucky enough to catch a talk by professional beekeeper Sharon Bassey, who showed us how to catch a swarm, let us taste pollen, honey and propolis, and talked about the potential social impact of beekeeping, with examples from prisoners at HMP Wandsworth, children in Tower Hamlet’s schools, and to combat post-traumatic stress disorder in the army.
Finally, after a picnic in the park to restore our energy, we started a small ‘treasure hunt’ to find the Kew Gardens bee hives. It wasn’t easy, but we (or at least some of us) found it!
We are planning another trip in Spring, so please do contact us if you’re interested!