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Caught by the buzz with Farnham Beekeepers Association - Surrey Creations

PUBLISHED: 10:42 22 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:42 22 September 2016

Margaret offers our intrepid photographer a close-up of a hive (detail from original photo)

Margaret offers our intrepid photographer a close-up of a hive (detail from original photo)

Philip Traill

The plight of the humble honey bee has been much discussed in recent years. In the tranquil setting of the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, we find Farnham Beekeepers Association doing their bit to maintain the buzz. Margaret Lennard takes us among the hives

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2016

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Founded in October 1941, with just three members, Farnham Beekeepers Association has grown to an active membership of 150 bee-keepers today.

“We have an apiary in the orchard of the Rural Life Centre (RLC) at Tilford where we have been based since 2007,” says the club’s Margaret Lennard. “The RLC were keen on having bees on their site, but had no one to establish and run hives, so were very enthusiastic and helpful when we approached them.”

The apiary is run mainly as a teaching hub where the group offers practical courses, for beginners through to more experienced bee-keepers, as well as a theory course over the winter.

“We also provide a home here for any swarms we have collected, following phone calls from the public, until they have built up sufficiently to go to new bee-keepers,” says Margaret. “Swarming is a natural way for the colony to reproduce.”

Although much has been said about the decline of bees over the years, the Farnham Beekeepers Association has not experienced serious losses so far.

“There are always some losses over winter, depending on the severity of the weather, the lack of pollen and nectar plants in early spring, as the bees come out for their first forages, and disease in the colony,” says Margaret. “But we work hard to make sure our bees are healthy and there are adequate stores for them.”

Should you wish to try the honey produced by the bees here, it’s available to buy in the shop at the RLC.

“Local honey from small-scale producers is a high-quality product and very much in demand,” says Margaret. “The UK only produces about 20% of the honey that is consumed here – much of it is actually imported from Turkey or China.”

So there you go; as well as planting plenty of plants for pollinators in your garden (the RHS has a good list), you can also support your local bee-keepers and their bees by taking a close look at your honey-pot label and loving local.


• Read more at farnhambeekeepers.org.uk

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Did you know?

Surrey is a very active bee-keeping county, with courses available for all ability levels, and even hosts the National Honey Show, which enables ordinary bee-keepers to attend talks by internationally-renowned speakers and keep up to date with the latest research.

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The low-down

Surrey Creations is a series by local photographer, Philip Traill, exploring people in their work environment, capturing the characters and what they do in a single image. Contact Philip by e-mail: philip@traillphotography.com

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