Bees make a wonderful addition to any allotment site as they play a critical role in the pollination of so many plants, especially fruit crops. Higher yields and better quality produce will result from having hives near your site.
Bee-keeping on an allotment must carried out by someone with experience and knowledge; local branches of the the British Bee Keepers Association(BBKA) www.bbka.org.uk run 10 week Beekeeping for Beginners courses and offer advice, advanced training and examinations to their members; they also offer public liability insurance and supply a handy leaflet for allotment beekeepers click here
Beekeepers should be members of their local association and new beekeepers should have an experienced mentor to assist and support them.
NAS would recommend that Allotment Authorities who allow beekeeping on their sites should be able to supply aspiring beekeepers with a beekeeping policy; examples are available from the NAS office email@example.com
If you wish to consider keeping bees on your allotment, then please check your tenancy agreement and consult your landlord. Self managed sites may want to consider using a vacant or hard to let plot as an apiary, where a group of beekeepers can keep their hives. It is well worth taking the time to site the apiary in the right place.
Hives are best sited away from other plot holders, paths and public roads. The bees should be encouraged to fly over high hedges, fences or 2m screens around the hives, especially if their flight path crosses a footpath. Contact details for the beekeeper must be displayed on site.
However, if someone on your site is allergic to bees please do discuss your plans with them first and take their medical needs into account. The BBKA have a useful leaflet about what to do when someone is stung and/or has an extreme reaction beestings
Insect pollinators of crops and wild plants are threatened by land-use intensification (including habitat destruction and pesticide use), the spread of pests and diseases and climate change. It is feared that two thirds of pollinators are in marked decline and that 25% are threatened with extinction. Six species of bumblebees have declined by 80% in the last 50 years and 2 species have become extinct since the beginning of this century; while the twentieth century saw the extinction of 4 British butterflies and 60 species of moth. Click here to read about how pollinators are important for your plot and what you can do to protect them.
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