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The Borough And The Bees – A look at beekeeping in Harrow

Getting up close and personal with a bee may not be everybody’s cup of tea but there are those who dedicate their lives to these fascinating creatures and, so, in this article, we’re taking a look at beekeeping in Harrow.

What is beekeeping ?

The art of beekeeping is all about owning and cultivating colonies of bees in order to harvest their honey and, while some people do so as a commercial enterprise, for others it’s simply an extremely satisfying hobby. Although you don’t need a license to keep bees in the UK, you may want to check the rules and regulations if you’re planning to keep bees on an allotment.

Beekeeping in Harrow

Founded in 1919, The Harrow Beekeper’s Association offers beginner’s courses for those who want to know more about the buzz of beekeeping. Run by experts, the course covers all the basics of beekeeping including swarm control and harvesting.

As you will need some essential equipment in order to start your beekeeping journey, the Association advises that you will need around £200 in startup costs to include your membership to The Harrow Beekeepers Association.

Mind your own beeswax

Before you run out to buy your beekeeping kit, there are a few things to bear in mind about this unusual pastime:

  • Time – Beekeeping does require a time commitment of at least two hours a week so you need to make sure that you will be able to fit this into your schedule
  • The sting – Being stung is part and parcel of being a beekeeper so it’s important to check that you’re not allergic to stings as this can be fatal. You should always ensure that you have your mobile phone with you at all times when you’re around your bees to ensure that you will be able to summon help should you need it
  • Lifting – The Association warns that, as a beekeeper, you will need to be able to lift supers (the boxes in which honey is collected) from chest height to the ground and back. These supers weigh around 10kg so this may not be suitable for those with back problems or other health issues.

The sweet spot

There are around 412 registered bee hives in London at any given time and these are kept either in private gardens, allotments or on rented plots of farmland. A well maintained bee hive will produce around 11 kg of honey per season – which is pretty impressive for a couple of hours work a week !