Surrey’s beekeepers have been busy harvesting the county’s honey and now the sweet results of their labour are ready to sample
The benefits of beekeeping
Bees are arguably one of the few insects that people actually like and there’s one real reason for this – honey. Nature’s sweetener is loved up and down the country for the way it miraculously transforms a dull bowl of porridge into something wonderful, along with its welldocumented health benefits.
And Surrey is no exception – this October there are two national honey festivals taking place, which aim to teach us the benefits of eating honey, how to look after bees and even how to take up beekeeping as a hobby.
The National Honey show takes place in and around London every year and from Thursday 25 to Saturday, October 27 it lands in Esher at Sandown Park Racecourse. The show promotes high-quality honey and wax products with international classes, lecture conventions, workshops and beekeeping equipment. Much of the programme is aimed at seasoned beekeepers, but on the Saturday there will be a series of lectures aimed at people thinking about taking it up as a hobby.
Also in October, Reigate Beekeeper’s Honey Fair will be taking place at the Christian Centre in Dorking on Saturday October, 20. At the fair, visitors will be able to find our more about bees and beekeeping at an observation hive, take part in craft making and cake decorating and sample some local honey and mead.
According to Reigate Beekeepers there are some great health benefits from choosing local honey over supermarket alternatives, as member Julie Thian explains: “Raw, local honey contains a blend of local pollen, which can strengthen a person’s immune system and reduce pollen allergy symptoms.
“Conversely, commerciallyproduced honey undergoes a different processing treatment, which removes beneficial nutrients like pollen and reduces its level of antioxidants.”
Over the past few years, and especially during this summer’s heatwave, there has been more awareness of the need to help the conservation of bees by preserving their habitat. According to Friends of the Earth, 35 species of bee are on the threatened species list, which is a worry when you consider that bees pollinate 75 per cent of our main food crops. Therefore, one of the main aims of the Honey Fair is to promote beekeeping as a hobby. “By engaging with their local beekeepers, visitors young and old can find out how it can become an absorbing hobby and we aim to highlight the benefits of honey and honeybees to us and the environment,” Julie explains.
Also getting in on the local honey act is Cranleigh Golf & Country Club, which has recently teamed up with a local beekeeper to install two bee hives in its grounds. The honey, harvested in September, will be available for the club’s members to purchase throughout autumn.
‘Raw, local honey contains a blend of local pollen, which can strengthen a person’s immune system and reduce pollen allergy symptoms’
What’s getting our taste buds watering this month