The National Allotment Society - National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd

Allotment Beekeeping

Bees on site

  • 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)  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 for NAS members from the NAS office
  • 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

If you are an allotment bee-keeper and concerned about insecticides being sprayed by local farmers, why not sign up to BeeConnected  An on-line tool that brings farmers and beekeepers together, keeping beekeepers notified when a neighbouring farmer is applying insecticides to their crops.

Asian Hornets

Beekeepers are concerned about the arrival of the Asian Hornet, which is a non-native species of the UK. This hornet has a voracious appetite for honey bees in early autumn, as a source of protein for its young brood, when other food sources are less abundant. The BBKA would like the support of NAS members in spotting  Asian hornets; who are likely to hibernate overwinter in sheds, outhouses or wood stores. Here is the Non-Native Species Secretariat information on identifying Asian Hornets and comparing them with the European hornet - NNSS Asian Hornet Identification Sheet

There is also a new app for mobile phones to help report asian hornet sightings - Click here Alternatively if you suspect that you have caught an Asian hornet, (a child’s pond dipping net is useful in this respect) then send details, with a photograph and location information, by email to:
or you may submit details online through this link – Hornet Sighting

As the potential establishment of Asian Hornets in the UK would have devastating effects on all other beneficial pollinators, the BBKA have contacted various national entomological, wild life and educational groups for additional support, to suggest that their members also participate in Asian Hornet Week by monitoring autumn flowering plants for Asian Hornets hawking for insects.

 Asian Hornet Action Team website