Howbery Business Park has four bee hives which were introduced in 2016.
The hives known as WBC Hives are the archetypal style hive you see in Winnie the Pooh stories, and have been positioned on the lawn, not far from the Manor House. This type of hive has been chosen because there is a definite benefit to the bees due to the extra layer of insulation. Each colony consists of approximately 5,000 bees on five frames, each colony containing one Queen.
Most beekeepers expect 20 -30lb of honey per established hive, but this is entirely dependent on the weather and available flowers to forage on. Head Gardener, Ben has embarked on his LANTRA training to become a qualified Bee Keeper. Ben is assisted by Nurture Landscapes’ other trained Bee Keepers.
Nurture Landscapes deals with all aspects of good husbandry, pest and disease control, winter care, feeding and extracting honey.
The hive setup includes two brood boxes and three supers per hive, which is adequate space for most usual colonies and conditions.
We always strive to comply with the RSPCA’s five freedoms that we benchmark our bee management against.
The bee colonies should show good establishment and provide biodiversity opportunities to the park over the forthcoming years.
A cautionary note: although bees are normally docile and will only sting as a last defence, please do not approach the hives without the correct protective equipment and the accompaniment of one of our Bee Keepers.
Now that the bee hives are established, we organise regular family-friendly bee education events for the park community. Our bees have also been taking part in research with the National Bee Unit whose inspectors have been testing a new app which will help them to improve their reporting.
Look out for Howbery Honey, available seasonally in the on-site shop.