Walton and District Allotment and Garden Society

Beekeeping

Why have Bees on Allotments?

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 beekeepers website  

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 health benefits.

 450 gram (1lb) jar of set or runny £6.00

 

 

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