Top tips for keeping that much loved Christmas plant alive. We've tested a plant sensor and mixed it up with some good old gardening knowledge...
When I was a child, we used to watch Sesame Street – each week was themed with a different letter. Well, this post is bee-themed.
My mother was an enthusiastic proponent of internet shopping in its early days, before it was widely popular. I was impressed when she ordered books and CDs through the post. I was astonished when she ordered... a tree.
These days, we wouldn’t even blink at the thought. In fact, here at 99roots there’s a whole shop full of plants that you can have delivered to your door. But there are still quite a few items that we would be astonished to receive in the post. That’s not stopping people from trying, according to company deliveryquotecompare, who have in the past had requests to send a dead cat, a hot shepherd’s pie and a time machine by post.
What doesn’t make it into their top ten is the bee. But astonishingly, it is possible to order live honey bees and have them delivered by post. This is actually a very important service, because the honey bee population is in danger. Last year, honey bee colonies in England declined by 34%.
There are reasons for this: a lack of food for bees, an infestation of the deadly varroa mite, and increasingly harsh winters. But honey bees are crucial for agriculture; one in three of the things that we eat require bee pollination at some point in their production.
Beekeeping in the UK is mostly a hobby and it’s a very satisfying one. If you want to start keeping bees, where should you begin? The best starting point is the British Beekeepers Association, who offer introductory courses, local groups and lots of friendly advice. You’d need to buy or build a hive and procure a bee suit and various other accessories like foundation wax sheets and mouse guards.
Beekeeping is seasonal; in the summer you can expect to spend around an hour per week looking after your colony, whilst in the winter you won’t have to do much except for equipment maintenance.