March 2011 – Bees

Our talk in March by Dr William Block of Cambridgeshire Bee Keepers was entitled ‘Why Keep Bees?’ It was very well attended –deservedly so, as it was a fascinating evening covering every side of bee keeping. It is an absorbing hobby but is also worth £165 million a year to the British economy. Many people don’t realise that without bees and other pollinating and nectar-collecting insects we would be without a large part of the food we take for granted – it wouldn’t just be the lack of a pot of honey!

Dr Block demonstrated the various parts of a beehive and showed us how the bees used it. The hive is not only constructed for the production of honey but also to keep out pests – badgers, woodpeckers and even field mice which like to nest in them. In a good year in Cambridgeshire a hive will produce 100 lbs of honey. Lately colonies have suffered particularly from disease – Varroa mite and the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder can kill all the bees in a hive. We were told there are some non-stinging bees, but they are in Australia! Altogether a most interesting talk.

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