Bees of London
Londoners love their bees so much, they have created what is called a “bee corridor” that runs seven miles long, with the purpose of providing wildflower style meadows to boost and nurture the urban bee population.
These meadows are in north London in such places as Gladstone Park, Barham Park and Tiverton, and can be found in 22 of Brent Council’s parks in all.
Councilor Krupa Sheth reminds everyone of how important bees are, and that we must help them thrive because they not only pollinate crops but are instrumental in pollinating much of the food that nurtures us.
A study as recently as March 2019 indicates that one-third of British wild bees are in decline. In fact, the number of pollinating bees has been dropping in the UK since the 1980s. It is believed that this is largely due to a shortage of wildflowers. The seeds to be sown along the corridor are a mixture of wildflowers that were chosen with bees and other pollinators in mind, according to Kelly Eaton, manager of the project.
There is an amazing structure known as The Hive at Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens that is a must see for bee lovers who have wondered what it is like to be inside a hive. This modern metal geometric hive was created to reproduce the sight and sound experiences that are initiated by real live bees, simulating for people what it's like in a real hive. Watch this less than half a minute video to get the full breathtaking extent of it.
The fear that bees might go extinct has stoked the social conscience of many people who would never have been called beekeepers even a few years ago. Bees are thriving in urban environments, with richer flower diversity and less pesticides. They are taking up residence in some of the most prestigious locations in the city. Roof top beekeeping is now very popular.
There are roof top beehives at The Ritz Hotel, St Ermin’s Hotel and on the lawns of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s residence, Lambeth Palace. The non-aggressive Welsh black bees residing in five Fortnum & Mason rooftop hives enter and exit their homes through arched entrances designed in such architectural styles as Chinese and Gothic. They forage for nectar and pollen in such illustrious neighborhood flower gardens as those of Buckingham Palace, St James and Clarence House.
In 2014, the London Beekeepers’ Association had 370 members. It is part of the British Beekeepers Association, which has been around for over 100 years. There were 4218 registered bee hives in London in December 2014, belonging to about 1400 beekeepers, but there were most likely many more, as not everybody registers their hives.
If you live in the UK or happen to be visiting London in early June 2020, consider attending the Open Garden Squares Weekend 6-7 June 2020 in London. This event is arranged by London Parks & Gardens Trust. London’s hidden green spaces will open their gates for public enjoyment and discovery… although this is not strictly bee-related, gardens with diverse nectar and pollen producing flowers are so vitally important to bees that this would be a delightful event to support if you are in London at that time. There will be many activities for the entire family.
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