As a company we are on a journey to learn how to reduce our foot print and increase our sustainability. We’ve been researching to see how we can help. Our latest project is Beekeeping! We are proud members of the British Beekeepers Association and this is only the beginning!
Save bees is not a choice but a duty
Social pantry has recently joined as a Member to the LBKA, (London Beekeepers’ Association. The LBKA is a is a volunteer-run members’ organisation and Registered Charity that represents the interests of beekeepers and urban beekeeping in the central London area. They provide education and advice, promoting responsible bee keeping and raising awareness of the issues affecting bees.
Bees are organisms, very sensitive to the environmental modification and contamination and fundamental insects for our ecosystem. The reason is due to the pollination that allows plant to produce fruits necessary to human and animal food needs. Without bee’s work, it would be impossible to have the same food range. Furthermore, costs for artificial pollination are much higher. It’s therefore important to save bees, because this is the only way we can save ourselves and guarantee a wealthy future.
Our notes in beekeeping:
Beekeeping, the practice of artificially maintain honeybee colonies, is one of the oldest forms of food production. Correctly known as a beekeeping which has been practiced since the Egyptians as they were particularly talented in the art of apiculture, since honey has been considered an important part of diet.
Although the majority associate beekeeping exclusively with honey harvesting, there are many other ways to utilise bee produce:
- Propolis, a sticky honeybee`s material used as an alternative medicine, homeopathy.
- Beeswax is often used to make candles and cosmetics.
- Royal jelly, secreted by the young worker bees, is a popular dietary supplement.
The bee colony is kept inside a hive which is made from wooden boxes and wax sheets frames for bees to be used as a starting point for the construction of honeycomb. The main box contains honey, while the box below is used to hold the queen bee and most workers bees.
Bees could be dangerous; a beekeeper must take several safety precautions.
- A hat or veil is commonly used to keep face and neck protected from stings.
- Gloves are another popular way of protection, although this could limit their movement.
- A hooded dress typically made from light fabric to help distinguish the beekeeper.
- While working with a bee colony, a beekeeper uses a smoker to help calm the bees to give the beekeeper enough time to inspect the colony and carry out the necessary operations.
- Pine needles, wastepaper, corrugated cardboard or compressed cotton are some of the fuels that can be used in a bee smoker
How to become a beekeeper in 5 steps:
- Choose where to place hives.
First step is to choose a place where to allocate hives with bees. Bees feed on flower nectar, therefore it is essential that the area is rich in flowering trees.
The place must be open, but at the same time safe because free bees can become quite dangerous.
In addition, sun is important as the shade during hotter hours; too much wind is an enemy and the area must be far from the roads but still in an accessible place.
- Buy the right equipment.
Essential tools to get started are:
- Beekeeper’s suit
- Face protection veil
- Protective boots
- Hives, in which bees will deposit pollen and honey
- Honey extraction equipment, such as brushes
- Prepare hives to welcome bees.
After buying all the necessary, bees colony need to be implant in hives. This process must be carried out in the warm season since bees are not particular lovers of cold.
- Learn about life cycle of bees.
Worker bees can live from 3 to 6 weeks and they can collect up to 1kg of nectar and produce many kilos of honey; a single colony can produce as much as 40kg of honey per year. Bee leaves the hive and looks for nectar inside flowers and petals. Once enough nectar is collected, the bee goes to the hive and deposits nectar inside cells, the other bees begin to ingest nectar and create honey.
- Take care of bees and collect honey.
Bees do not need special care but in order to take care of bees it is good to know that is winter they may suffer from food shortages. For this reason, during autumn, hives may need to be filled with dense syrup to provide nutrients.
Finally, how to harvest honey?
Simple separate bees from cells with a specific brush. Some can also help to get the bees away and remove them from cells. Once bees are separated, honey can be removed from cells.
To find out more about London Beekeepers Association, please visit their website.
If you want to read more about putting the social in Social Pantry, click here.