I've mentioned once or twice on Twitter that Mr CC is taking up beekeeping, and he is beyond excited about the new course he has just started. Beekeeping has been experiencing somewhat of an incline in popularity over the last year or so, which is encouraging when you consider that the population of bees is declining; if the decline continues at this rate then the future of bees is bleak. Greenpeace state that without insect pollination, 75% of our crops would "suffer some decrease in productivity"; the days and joys of eating apples, strawberries and tomatoes for instance, would be over.
So what are we supposed to do about it? I'll leave you in Mr CC's safe hands... Bee keeping can have a bit of stigma attached to it: namely that only old people, farmers and people with too much time on their hands keep bees. I'm here to prove that not only is bee keeping making a come back, but that it's also essential if our countryside is to continue to grow and progress in the same way.
So why did I take up beekeeping? Besides the fact that honey is delicious and has many uses, I wanted to play my part in sustaining the future of a species. Bees are fascinating creatures that have been harvested by man for over 6,000 years; they can provide honey, pollen (pure protein), beeswax for crafting, and increased pollination for plants within 3 miles of the hive. Keeping bees is an excellent way to help save an insect so crucial to the future of the ecosystem, and over the next few months I will be writing about the highs and lows of my new hobby obsession.
So what about all of you non-beekeepers out there; what can you do to help the plight of the bee? Luckily, Help Save the Beeshave produced 10 top tips for things you can do.
I'll be posting over the next few weeks about how you can achieve some of these, particularly focusing on bee-friendly plants and (quite obviously) how to become a beekeeper. For now, I hope my first blog post hasn't been a disaster, and please do comment or send an email if you have any more questions about beekeeping. Next time I'll be taking you through what you need to start up as a beekeeper, including how to build a hive.
If you are interested in keeping bees yourself, check out courses in your area via The British Beekeepers Association here.