Gwent Beekeepers will be joining us at Monmouthshire Food Festival with lots of activities about bees. They will show just how critical bees are to our food supplies and how we can all help to support a healthy bee population.
Gwent Beekeepers will have a display of live bees in a demonstration hive showing how they live in their community. Also there will be talks in the Look and Learn Theatre and a “Bee Experience” in the Children’s Quarter. There will be members on hand to answer any questions about keeping bees and how we can all help to ensure a healthy bee population.
Honey bees are just one of many species of bee in the UK. They belong to a group known as social bees, as they live in colonies; while solitary bee species live alone. However, among the social bees, honey bees are unique as their colonies survive from year to year – whereas, bumble bees, for example, survive just one season, as only their queen survives the winter by hibernating ready to start a new colony in the spring.
Whilst a honey bee colony and its queen can live for a number of years, the worker and drone bees have a shorter life span e.g. a worker bee lives for about 6 weeks during the summer months. To survive through the winter, a honey bee colony builds up a store of honey over the summer months collected from the nectar of flowers. The honey in excess of their needs is the beekeeper’s reward. To produce 1/2 kg (1 lb) of honey, bees visit over 10,000 flowers and travel 75,000 km. An average colony can collect 150 kg a year, but only 15 to 20 kg of this may be taken by the beekeeper. However, the value of honey bees to the enviroment as pollinators is far greater than their commercial value as honey producers.
For more information about the Monmouthshire Food Festival visit: monmouthshirefoodfestival.co.uk