Diary of a beekeeper

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Bee swarm
Bee swarm

Story by Linda Cawley, bee keeper | Photo by Tim Neal

When I thought about how bees have been affected Covid I couldn’t think what to write. Then it came to me: pollution.

When people have been staying at home wildlife has prospered. Wild animals have been seen in our cities, we all recall the goats entering the Welsh village.

Without bees life would be very different as they are the most important pollinators, according to one source, fertilising a third of the food we eat and 80% of flowering plants.

Bee swarm
One of my swarms at the allotment

One impact of shutdown has been the reduction in air pollution which reduces the strength and life span of floral scents. However hedgerows are flourishing meaning more chances to forage nearer hives, rather than having to fly great distances to find heather, rape seed etc.

More people are connecting with nature. Bees contribute widely to our passion for gardens and allotments and the fact that they are not being inhibited by pollutants and pesticides on hedges means they are able to do their job much more productively and healthily.

My hives have been much bigger this year. In five years of bee keeping I haven’t had one swarm, but this year I had three. Swarming is a natural thing for bees and when there are too many of them in one hive they go with the old queen. But three swarms mean three new hives. I was able to give two away to people to start their own hives. The third I fear may be in one of your roof spaces. So, “ask not what the bees can do for you, but what you can do for the bees”.

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