Thursday, 10 March 2016

Trend for owning beehives in London is bad for insects and birds, say researchers

Beehives, which are top of John Lewis's wedding gift list, are leading to excess urban bee populations

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Haven't times changed? According to John Lewis, after an unhealthily long obsession with toasters and towels, its wedding-gift list has hit a sweet spot: the top request is now for a beehive. And not just any beehive. This one is eco-friendly and, at just £20, a somewhat more austerity-friendly choice than the smart TVs for up to £3,000 that are also popular.
This trend nicely unpicks the hackneyed image of Bridezilla and her groom. Instead of loading up with glistening crystal and shimmering silverware, it turns out that today's right-on newlyweds have one eye on declining bee populations and the other on the health benefits of eating local honey.

Good news for Camilla Goddard, who runs Capital Bee. She looks after around 70 hives in London – including at the Old Bailey, the Garrick Club, schools and hotels – and once fulfilled an order for hundreds of little bottles of honey to be given away as wedding favours. "I get a lot of people on my courses who are there because their partners have bought a hive for them as a romantic gift," she says.

Camilla set up Capital Bee 10 years ago and has watched our hive-brain develop in the interval. By how much becomes clear from data released by BeeBase – a resource for beekeepers run by the UK's National Bee Unit – which correlates with the John Lewis news. It shows that, in the five years from 2008 to 2013, the number of beekeepers in Greater London tripled from 464 to 1,237. Meanwhile, hive numbers doubled to more than 3,500 from 1,677.

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