Three quarters of all crops are dependent to some degree on pollination by animals,
overwhelmingly by bees. Without bees global production would drop by a third. We
wouldn’t starve because we would still have all the basic foods such bread, potatoes,
rice and pasta. What we would lose would be all the ones that are not only nicer
to eat but contain our essential nutrients and vitamins. A recent trial on Strawberries
proved just how much better the fruit was from bee pollination. Results from the
self –fertile were worst with those wind pollinated only slightly better. Many were
small or misshapen, poor yield and lacking in flavour compared to the bee pollinated.
These were bigger, brighter coloured, had fewer misshapen fruits, kept better and
had the best sugar-acid ratio. The reason for the difference was found to be the
number of fertilised seeds per berry. Fertilised seeds produce a hormone which help
the fruit to grow and improves quality. Unfertilised seeds produce poor quality
and malformed fruit.
Despite today’s stringent health and safety regulations the Society, together with
the Weybridge division of the Surrey Beekeepers, has been able to re-introduce bees
onto allotments . Requirements were that our apiaries were managed by trained beekeepers
and located behind secure fencing. In 2009 Walton Charity gave us permission to build
an apiary on Rydens Road Allotments under the management of a professional beekeeper.
The five hives he started with soon became a dozen and according to the allotment
tenants there followed a significant increase in quality and quantity of their produce.
The honey from these hives is on sale at Trading.
A year later, at the request of the allotment tenants, Surrey Beekeepers funded an
apiary on the Burhill allotment site in Hersham. This was very quickly populated
by graduates as soon as they had completed their training. But this has unfortunately
had to close for the time being. For information and details of courses visit Weybridge
In 2013 we built our second apiary on the Home Farm allotment site in Walton. On
the advice of Surrey Beekeepers association we limited this to a single beekeeper
who is now up and running with two hives and a third added in 2017.
We had a long wait before a suitable site became available on Elm Grove but eventually
it did and this is where we now have our third apiary. As advised previously we are
restricting it to a single beekeeper as the best way to keep the colonies healthy.
The bees had quite a long move from a rooftop in London but are now settled in their
new home on the allotments.
Local honey is on sale in Trading. The value of local honey, because it is unpasteurized
and still contains all of its natural ingredients, is widely believed to have many