Beekeepers get busy at Chelsea Flower Show
Monday May 21, 2007
City dwellers are being targeted in a bid to bolster the declining British bee population.
The initiative, aimed at encouraging more urbanites to keep bees, was launched today at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) says hives can be installed on rooftops, behind garden walls and on allotments in towns and cities.
It created a show garden to inspire urbanites to keep bees, which have lost some of their natural countryside habitat.
The 'bee friendly' design is stocked with fruit, flowers and vegetables as well as beehives.
But the insects themselves were not included in the garden after being banned by the show's organisers.
Bill Turnbull, a BBC Breakfast presenter who keeps his own bees, was on hand to publicise the design.
"You don't need much space to keep bees and we need all the beekeepers we can get. It's a lovely thing to do," he said.
The BBKA chairman, Tim Lovett, said honeybees play a "vital" ecological role.
"Many new urban beekeepers see working with a colony of honeybees as a healthy change to the stress of office life.
"Tending bees is peaceful, keeps you in touch with nature - and bees only sting when provoked," he said.
There are about 44,000 beekeepers in the UK who look after some 240,000 hives.
The UK produces about 20% of the honey it consumes, according to the BBKA - so an increase in domestic beekeepers could also help reduce food miles.
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