Honeybees at the entrance of a log hive
The Hampshire Natural Bees is an informal group of people whose aim is to support honeybees and wild bees as well as improve their environment. With honeybees we adopt a husbandry guided by the nature of the Bee. Using bee-friendly, bee-appropriate methods, our members keep honeybees to promote bee health and welfare rather than maximize honey production.
Supporting bees can be achieved in several ways. These range from simply being more bee-aware in your garden, planting bee friendly plants and not using pesticides and poisons; through to providing habitat and housing for bees by leaving areas of ground undisturbed, putting up ‘bee-hotels’ or maintaining a beehive.
The group started in 2009 and meets regularly, at different venues, to learn about bees and their nature with thought and discussion about how best to care for them. Members are mainly from Hampshire, with others from Wiltshire, Oxford shire, Dorset and Surrey as well as a few from Berkshire and Hertfordshire. Within the Group, people have been meeting and getting together in local groups to help each other. Some BBKA Associations have natural beekeepers in their membership and tolerate our different approach. HNBG encourages attendance at lectures and apiary meetings to learn about, and see, bees in a way that is less likely in our non-intrusive husbandry.
We aim to learn about the nature of the Bee and what practice promotes good health .We also consider the implications of other husbandry on the bee’s health; rather than training in a particular husbandry and hive type. Members use a range of hives including vertical and horizontal top bar hives, straw skeps and framed hives as well as tree and trunk hives. Information is available from experienced beekeepers, conservationists, courses, web-sites and a growing number of books on a natural approach to bee husbandry.
The group communicates using a restricted Forum administered by a volunteer. There are no subs or fees; any event, which incurs costs, is self-funding. If you are considering looking after bees yourself, why not come along and meet us and see what you think?
J Haverson January 2023