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Bee-autiful Bees

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take part in a day introductory beekeeping course. Inspired by the enormous bees I had seen on the Galapagos Islands and the health benefits of mother nature's larder. I was excited to find out more about bees and beekeeping.

Did you know there are between 10,000 - 70,000 swarms of bees in a hive? The noise of that many bees is incredible.

Female Carpenter Bee, The Galapagos Islands ©MDHarding

Bee-autiful Bees

One day Bee Keeping Course

The course took place at The Secret Herb Garden, Edinburgh, and gave both hands-on experience and classroom knowledge. The day was full of interesting and knowledgeable facts about how to go about setting up your own hive. All the equipment is provided including the fashionable bee-keeping suits. The location and facilities are very good and the onsite cafe serves the most delicious soups and cakes too! To find out more about the Edinburgh Bee Keeping Course and its availability please visit:

The Bee Keeping Class of 2016 ©MDHarding

What You Need To Know About Bees

Today we need bees to pollinate, they are an important part of our food chain. Did you know that around 70 UK crops either depend upon or benefit from bees?

You can help by planting bee-friendly plants such as lavender, geraniums, pansies, and much more.

Did you know that bees were important for something else back in the day? Bees have been used during warfare, bags of bees would be thrown into trenches! Bees have also been trained to look for gunpowder and drugs.

Health Benefits

We all know that bees produce honey and it's renowned for its nutritional and medicinal uses, such as for sore throats and coughs. Mother nature's larder has lots to offer from simple and easily obtainable and sustainable resources. If you are not certain what something looks like to pick, why not try a foraging walk or course in your local area?

If you love cooking and looking for delicious new recipes to try out with some of mother nature's larder - Fortnum & Mason's "Honey and Preserves".

The colour of the pollen differentiates the kind of honey. So for example, if grey, the bees have been feeding on thistles, bright yellow for grape seed, and orange for dandelion.

Have you tried any of these specialty local kinds of honey? What was your favourite? Please do get in touch and share.

Italian Buckfast Bees ©MDHarding

Did you know that bees can carry half their weight in pollen and nectar?

There are over 250 species of a bee! The Italian Buckfast Bees are placid compared to the UK Black Bees which are quite aggressive.

Historical Bee Sayings and Phrases

The course brought back a few memories of sayings and phrases passed down the generations such as "he's made a beeline....", "It's like a swarm!" or "as busy as a bee" and of course the old 1920's saying "It's the bee's knees" meaning good quality.

Can you think of any others? Please do get in touch and share.



Hives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Two of the most commonly seen are the National Hive and the Smith Hive.

The Smith Hive is named after Willie Smith, the first commercial beekeeper of Scotland based in Innerleithen. A cost-effective hive built with less wood. The National Hives are easier to lift as have larger handles.

The more decorative hives are called WBC Hives, these are the ones that you imagine all beehives to look like and then there are images from childhood and children's book stories such as Winnie the Pooh.

A great day was had by all on this informative beekeeping day course. I hope it has inspired you to help the world's bee-autiful bee population. x

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