Honey bees perform an essential job in pollinating a wide range of farm crops, vegetables, fruit and many wild plants.
Our honey bees are under threat like never before, with their numbers declining. One of the major factors causing this decline is intensive agriculture, seen in the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides.
This has contributed to a loss of habitat and forage for our bees. The other is, the introduction of the Varroa mite from Asia in the late 80s early 90s, resulting in the decimation of our feral bee population. The overwhelming majority of honey bees in the UK are kept in hives by beekeepers.
A local venture has begun to help the plight of the honey bees on the Sussex/Surrey border. Going from hobbyists to professional bee keepers, Fiona Juckes and Mike Stone, have created The Family Bee project.
As bee keepers they want to build partnerships with organisations that promote conservation.
Their vision is to make their hives accessible to all age groups and to help educate people on the importance of bees in the community.
Fishers Adventure Farm Park in Wisborough Green is the first location in their project.
Park owner, Tim Rollings commented:“We were pleased to volunteer our help with this essential ecological idea.”
Fishers have started with four traditional Langstroth hives in their newly planted orchard, located not far from the family farm park. Each hive has one queen bee with a colony of up to 60,000 bees. Honey bees construct wax honeycomb in which they store honey and their young (brood).
The Family Bee plan to produce Fishers Farm Honey which will be available in the farm shop next year. Eating honey produced within a 3 mile radius of where you live has shown to have beneficial effects for hayfever and asthma sufferers. For more details of The Family Bee please email Fiona and Mike at email@example.com
More information on Fishers Farm Adventure Park can be found at www.fishersfarmpark.co.uk by emailing Melanie McAlpine firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01403 700063.
Report contributed by Fishers Farm Adventure Park. Picture by Graeme McAlpine.