The appearing of the bees

Apprentice beekeepers in Finsbury Park highlight the rise of grassroots and community beekeeping  in Transition initiatives around the UK in response to honeybee decline. This Sunday Bungay Community Bees in Suffolk are holding an event to bring  attention to the crucial role of bees and other insects in our everyday lives – and how we can help them.  Josiah Meldrum reports:

Bungay Bee Hive Day is a celebration of the honeybee and other pollinating insects along with the plants they love. Unique in the region and in its second year the event is organised by Bungay Community Bees as part of the Bungay Festival and aims to promote awareness and enjoyment of the essential relationship between people, plants and bees.

After the success of last year’s event which attracted around 1000 people, Bungay Community Bees have invited Heidi Hermann, Founder Trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, to talk about swarming – perhaps the most exhilarating event of a honeybee colony’s annual lifecycle. The Natural Beekeeping Trust was formed in response to the critical situation of the honeybee which has led many beekeepers to question approaches to beekeeping that rely on chemical inputs and to seek to improve the wider landscape in which bees live.

Co-Founder of Bungay Community Bees Elinor McDowall said: ‘We’re very lucky to have Heidi Hermann joining us on the 15th. It’s the first time she’s spoken in East Anglia and this is a great opportunity for local beekeepers and those interested in bees to come and hear about this growing new holistic take on bee husbandry’.

Building on the theme of this year’s Bee Hive Day, Rose Titchiner of Bungay Community Bees will explain how we can provide year-round plants and habitats for bees, pollinators and wildlife . She’ll introduce Bungay Community Bees’ Get your Garden Buzzing project – a bee-friendly plant labelling scheme that can be used by any garden centre. Meanwhile there will be a Bee and Flower Walk around Bungay’s diverse green spaces, local author (and TFP editor), Charlotte Du Cann reading from her latest book 52 Flowers That Shook My World, a screening of the highly acclaimed film Queen of the Sun and a panel discussion. Waveney Beekeeping Group and Bungay Community Bees will display hives, equipment and information to show how honeybees work and how they can be supported by beekeepers.

Information stalls and displays covering all aspects of beekeeping and pollinators will be complemented by those selling bee-friendly plants, seeds, bee-related crafts and of course honey! There will be an activities area where children and adults can make their own bug hotels, beeswax lip balm or get their faces painted and a quiet reading corner stocked with bee books and magazines. Bungay Community Kitchen will provide refreshments.

You’ll find a .pdf of the programme and details of all our speakers here

Bungay Beehive Day is at the Festival Marquee, Castle Meadow, Bungay, Suffolk, 10.30am-4.30pm. For further information contact Gemma Parker on  07540 724395 or email inquiries@humblecake.co.uk

Images: (from preview issue) Introduction to Beekeeping Day by Jonathan Goldberg (Transition Kensal to Kilburn) ;  Bee and Flower walk for Bungay Beehive Day, 2011 by Muhammad Amin.

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