With all these flower meadows and bee corridors being planted around Ealing (and Brent) and especially Perivale Park, are the bees happy? To find out I visited Ealing Beekeepers, who run hives within the foraging range of the park (typically 2-3 km, but can be up to ~6 km or further).
The very friendly and enthusiastic members took us to see the hives (having loaned us protective clothing) and at the end showed us some jars of their multi-prize-winning Middlesex honey, which is known for its complex taste and rich aroma. We purchased a jar by John Chapple, beekeeper to HM the Queen. You can find more stories about their bees here.
I asked if the recent increase in flowering meadows and bee corridors in Perivale Park had resulted in any difference in the yields and qualities of their honey. I learnt that honey bees tend to prefer multiflora mixes, most often found in residential gardens. Much of this year’s seedings in Ealing have in fact tended to favour the solitary black bumble bees and our visit to Northolt park certainly appeared to confirm that. Another measure of healthy bees is the number of beehive colony collapses. By this measure Ealing beekeepers are doing very well indeed, with few losses this year.
It was a pleasure to learn about the local honey, which must surely contain significant contributions from the flowers in Perivale park and surrounding house gardens.
Next, to find out about the diversity of the local insect and butterfly populations. I will need to track down a local expert first!