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READ: Art of beekeeping will keep gallery in the honey

Victor Contini says the National Gallery roof would be an ideal site for hives. Picture: Neil Hanna

Victor Contini says the National Gallery roof would be an ideal site for hives. Picture: Neil Hanna

By EMMA COWING via scotsman.com

“It’s bound to create a buzz in the arts world. An ambitious plan to keep bees and produce honey on the roof of the Scottish National Gallery is taking flight…

“Urban beekeeping is becoming very popular, especially in London, and Edinburgh in particular would provide fantastic food sources for bees as it’s such a green city.”

Bees housed on The Mound site would be able to forage in the extensive flower beds of Princes Street Gardens, which would give the honey a unique “Edinburgh” flavour. Contini says he hopes to get the plan off the ground later this year…

Phil McAnespie, president of the Scottish Beekeepers Association, said he thought the scheme was a good idea: “Urban beekeeping has really been on the rise for the past two to three years and it’s very good to see. There are far more flowers and plants for bees to forage in the city than there are in the countryside, where there tends to be a lot of farming and more pesticides.

“On the roof of the National Gallery you’re going to get the sun, you may even get a sheltered spot – it would be an extremely good situation for bees and they should be able to get a decent amount of honey from them. It’s great to see the National Galleries and other museums becoming aware of the issue of beekeeping and being able to help,” he said.

The bee population is expected to decline this year because of the long winter, and the association is keen to encourage more amateur beekeepers to have a go at urban beekeeping in an attempt to keep the population up…

A number of cities worldwide have embraced urban keeping on the roofs of landmark buildings: in New York there are hives on the top of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, and in Paris on the roof of the Opéra Garnier. In London there are around 30 commercial sites that keep beehives on their roofs, including Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, as well as the art galleries…”

[read full article via scotsman.com]

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READ: “Sweet treats: bid for some rare Fortnum & Mason honey”

Interview with Steve Benbow, the founder of London Honey Company

What could we be doing for bees in London?

‘I am often asked about what planting individuals could establish for bees across the capital. Honey bees especially love mature trees as a nectar source. Limes and acacias are particularly important but sycamores, chestnuts, hawthorns and blackthorns are good too, however although the planting of these is an essential thing, they do not provide instant bee fodder.’

What should we be planting?

‘I recommend early pollen sources such as crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells which are excellent early pollen yielders, pollen is rich in protein and fantastic for young bee growth. The autumn is also a key time, with ivy and buddleia providing late nectar flows, allowing the colony to build up for the barren months ahead. London is 65% green space but I believe there could be greater nectar sources and safe havens.’

What if I don’t have a garden?

‘If, like me, you have no garden or roof terrace, then I’d like to introduce to you “guerilla gardening”. Have you ever thought that your local roundabout looked a little shabby or a local patch of wasteland needs beautifying? If so, just grab some wild flower seeds and scatter.  We have just started selling bee bombs here at Bee HQ. When soaked they resemble a soil hand grenade and are fantastic as they contain everything you will need to start your own little wild flower patch – just soak and chuck.

Anything else?

‘You could also persuade your local park or open space to reduce or stop their use of pesticide – the cumulative affect on bees is now well proven and catastrophic. There is a real move to make London free of these terrors, like Paris already is, and the sooner it happens the better. Persuading local authorities to make everything less manicured is also important, not only for bees but other wildlife such as butterflies. Long grasses are a haven and can also look wonderful. I passed Blackheath common the other morning and it had the most amazing white clover covering it… two days later it was fully trimmed! Finally, it’s been a terrible year for honey production in the UK so where possible try and buy local or British honey.’ Sonya Barber

For info about Steve, see thelondonhoneycompany.co.uk

[Click here to read the original article via Time Out London]

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Honey bees living atop Paris’s opera house

“Eighteen years ago on a whim, Opera de Garnier prop assistant  Jean Paucton studied beekeeping at Paris’s Jardin du Luxembourg. He bought a hive and had every intention to take it to his country home, 45 minutes out of the French capital.

But the opera house’s fireman – who had been raising trout in the building’s underground reservoir (the inspiration for the subterranean lake in Phantom of the Opera – suggested he put the hives on the roof where the bees wouldn’t bother anyone.

Two weeks later, he returned to find the hive full of honey. The bees were thriving. Now he keeps five hives atop Paris’s opera house and sells the honey in the gift shop…”

[click here to read the original post]

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Old School…. Beekeeping in the Thirties!
(North of Scotland College of Agriculture Beekeeping)

Want more? Click here —-> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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