Bees & Co. is the world’s first carbon-neutral honey farm and home to the native British honeybee, which Jez Rose and his team are rearing and reintroducing to help prevent the pollinator's decline. As the weather starts to warm and the bees are starting to fly, we caught up with Jez to discover more about the native honeybee.
- Honeybees will visit as many as 100 flowers on each trip out of the hive, to gather pollen and nectar. Pollen is an important source of protein for bees, while nectar provides both water and glucose for energy.
- The native honeybee here in Britain is much darker than the bees most of us would recognise; it’s sometimes referred to as the “dark European honeybee” as it’s originally native to most of the north of Europe and doesn’t feature the yellow bands of other honeybees. A largely forgotten subspecies of honeybee, it’s now quite rare, but perfectly adapted to our climate.
- At the very core of the hive the honeybees cluster around eggs and the larvae of the baby bees, to keep the core temperature at a constant 35 degrees celsius, no matter the temperature outside!
- Honeybees are important pollinators responsible for pollinating one-third of the crops we eat, and along with some bumblebees, are key to the human food chain.
- Honeybees will fly up to five miles to find food in the form of pollen. To reduce stress on the colony and fatigue, we densely plant native pollinating flowers wherever our hives are placed and encourage everyone to ‘plant for pollinators’ in their outside spaces.
- Water is required by almost all living things and honeybees are no different. Sometimes they fly to collect water, returning to the hive with it. In open water, insects can drown, so placing gravel, or even marbles, into plant saucers, provides a place for honeybees to land and absorb water droplets without the risk of drowning.
- Inside a beehive, there is 1 queen and her sole job is to ensure the survival of the colony by laying sufficient eggs for the continual reproduction of the colony. In the height of summer, she can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day!
- Honey is an entirely natural product and its taste is a signature of the landscape from which the bees foraged. The result is honey that tastes different from wherever you buy it, region to region!
- Some of the honeybees' favourite plants include borage, crocus, salix, marjoram, helenium and phacelia to name just a few.
- In Lincolnshire, where Sophie Allport and Bees & Co. are both based, bees produce set honey in the Spring because of the abundance of oilseed rape. There’s a high glucose content in the oilseed rape honey, so it crystallises quicker and sets. Later in the year, the bees forage on a wide range of other flowers and trees, producing clear honey that remains runny because of the lower glucose content.
Where most honey farms are focused on the commercial production of honey, Bees & Co., based in Langtoft, are primarily concerned with the environment. Their hives are available for businesses to adopt as part of a sustainability program to demonstrate how they are being responsible, but Bees & Co. also run a wide range of workshops and experience days, including their popular Beekeeper for a Day gift experience.
It might be the moustache that you recognise but Jez Rose is a regular on television and radio, including his own show for ITV1; guest presenting on QVC and when not in the studio with ITV’s James Martin's Saturday Morning, can be seen travelling the country with BBC1's Saturday Kitchen. He has been the public ambassador for national campaigns for the likes of LateRooms.com; Honest Organic and The Happy Egg Company.
Discover more at: www.beesand.co
Follow Jez and Jez’s Farm: Bees & Co. on social: @ThatJezRose
If you love bees as much as we do then why not buzz over to our bee..autiful bees collection and take a browse? We have plenty of homewares and accessories to choose from.