Posted by Anthony Besant on 04 Jun 2024

Ever since the lockdown my appreciation of the simple things and nature has really grown. Just a walk in the park, listening to all the goings on in the wild was a blessing for many of us. One little creature that has always fascinated me and its important role in all our lives is the Honey Bee, so when we were offered the opportunity to visit the Epsom and Ewell Beekeepers association to find out about them we jumped at the chance.

Situated in the Uppermill area of the Hogsmill for over 70 years is the Epsom based division of the British Beekeepers Association (BBK). We were welcomed by Howard a local Beekeeper who along with a devout team help to educate those interested about Bee’s and their importance in the Ecosystem but also produce their own wonderful Honey!

We spent a good hour of so on a lovely sunny Sunday morning, it is the best time to visit the Bee’s and works alongside them, as you can imagine having the roof of your house removed for an inspection in cold/damp conditions means could potentially mean an angry Bee!

I really did learn so much in our mini session and Howard was so keen to answer all questions but I had some takeaways I found fascinating:

  • There could be up to 60,000 Bees working in Apiary
  • A Queen Bee can live for up to 5 years – they are marked in a colour to show their age.
  • The worker Bees are all female
  • The male Bees are called Drones and there is a very small number to each hive and they don’t do a lot 😊 Does that sound familiar?
  • A Bee only lives for up to 6 weeks during the Summer months and only for the last 2 weeks of their life do they leave the hive to collect pollen – they will then fly up to 3km away from the hive to collect nectar all day every day, they literally fly themselves exhausted.
  • The others? Well they are busy housekeeping, cleaning up and carrying out other duties.
    When a Bee returns with Pollen or Nectar to a hive they perform a Waggle dance to show they have food.
  • The Bees spend all Summer accumulating enough Honey for them to Winter at which time the hive is relatively dormant, the greater their success in the Summer the better chance the colony has to survive the cold winter months when they will ‘huddle’ together.

As someone who loves nature this was a great insight into Beekeeping, and once you understand the complexity of their lives and what they have to do I could easily just stand and watch them go about their business, they are incredibly clever!

The Epsom Beekeepers Association – Epsom Beekeepers Association next experience day is on Sunday 16th June and offers a mix of theoretical and practical learning to provide an overview of the lifecycle and craft of keeping a colony of honeybees. This one day course is designed to give a you ‘taste’ of the commitments, equipment, costs and knowledge required before starting your bee keeping journey or just an informative experience for those that want to expand their knowledge about bees. The day also includes lunch and I think it is a fantastic gift to someone (or a gift for yourself) to do something different, learn about what is around us and may be consider having your own Apiary in your back garden one day? I know I want one 😊

You can find out more about the day here.

The team and tutors are all very friendly and helpful I thoroughly enjoy our taster session and I would encourage anyone who would love to find out more to book onto the day course, you will find it insightful and may be just appreciate the little girls you see buzzing around your flowers and what they are up to.


Anthony 🙂

Anthony Besant
Anthony is a father of 3 (aka Mr Dee Besant). Can be found weekdays enjoying the commute into London (not!), you will also find him out and about with the children and often at Nonsuch Park walking the dog.

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