Beekeeping & The Local London Riots

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Thank you all for the kind emails of support after hearing about the awful looting and destruction to our local area. The Hive Honey Shop is located in the heart of Clapham Junction London. All the staff were worried about the safety of our shop beehive (the live honeybees at the shop) and whether there would be a shop to return to.

We are grateful to the local police force in Wandsworth for stopping the looting, setting of fires and the mindless destruction before it got to our tiny shop. We have since had to remove much of the shop content in case tonight is a repeat of last night. Our shop offers free bee talks to local schools, interest groups and has become a landmark to Wandsworth. Our thoughts, prayers and wishes for a safe recovery are on those who have been victims of these crimes.

Many of the beekeepers here decided to take the day away from London and do some country beekeeping in an attempt to forget, just for a little while, the hate and violence brewing in London.

People ask me why I have devoted my life to bees and beekeeping? Today I realized just what it was that keeps me captivated. 

It is the calm, united, overwhelming peace that the bees convey and infect you with while inspecting the hive. Today I could actually sense the bees were aware of what was brewing. Sounds a bit weird, but put simply, the bees were making a warmer humming noise. After you have been doing beekeeping for 45 years or so, you become accustom to the slight differences in the sound patterns of the bees. Many beekeepers can hear and interpret the variation of sound in a colony related to the mood of that colony. 

If there is a thunder storm brewing miles away, yet no sign of it in the sky where you are, you will note a difference in the pitch of the buzzing of the bees. This I call bee whispering and have been listening to bees since I was the age of 5. Today I heard a very distinctive difference in their song, their buzz. They were very accommodating today and very gentle to the touch.

It was also a wonderfully bright sunny day, yet the bees were mostly staying within the hive, protecting the front entrances? 

I was removing some honey from a few hives. They were big strong colonies, bursting with bees. At this time of year nectar is in short supply and normally they will defend their hive with a bit more vigor and persistence. But strangely today they were calm on the comb and almost fell off the comb as I lifted them? Each hive I opened demonstrated the same attributes.

I can’t explain this strange behavior nor have I seen this in all my years, yet it is worth noting in the eve of these past days.

All I can say, is that I was grateful for the opportunity to become lost in their calm, organized little world for a bit, leaving ours behind. We all felt our batteries of hope had been recharged by the time we closed our last hive for the day.