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) 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 natsoc@nsalg.org.uk
  • 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

Click here to read the Asian Hornet article from the National Bee Unit in ALG 2 2018

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: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk
or you may submit details online through this link – Hornet Sighting

The British Beekeeping Association BBKA are organising an Asian Hornet Week, 10th -16th September 2018, to encourage all beekeepers to be able to identify an Asian Hornet and to look out for Asian Hornets at their apiaries for at least an hour at intervals during fine weather. This is in order to see whether their bees are being attacked, in the hope that beekeepers will continue this activity through the autumn.

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. Click here to go to the BBKA website Asian Hornet Week page.

 Asian Hornet Action Team website 

Other pollinators - 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.