#3 | Camilla Goddard - Urban beekeeping in London

Please find the transcript with Camilla Goddard, founder and owner of Capital Bee (http://www.capitalbee.co.uk), an urban beekeeping operation in London, England. Camilla keeps around 70 beehives for businesses and organisations around London, teaches beekeeping courses on the rooftop of a 4-star luxury hotel, and finds homes for vulnerable bumblebees and honeybees.

 

We start with Camilla's journey getting started in beekeeping and go into the importance of bees for both the environment and humans and why they play a crucial role in our ecosystem. Although Camilla recognises the challenges bees are facing, she is hopeful they can adapt and flourish, despite urbanisation and climate change. 

 

Resources

 

Hornbeam wood purchased via https://woodlands.co.uk;

 

Varroa Mites feed on larvae: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor;

 

Quakers greatly value sustainability: https://www.quaker.org.uk/our-work/sustainability;

 

Beekeeping workshops at the St. Ermine's Hotel London: https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk/offers/beekeeping-workshops/;

 

Urban beekeeping: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_beekeeping;

 

Lime trees (aka Linden trees): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia;

 

Tree of Heaven: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_altissima;

 

St Ermine's Bee and Bee Hotel: https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk/about/bees-kitchen-garden/our-bees/;

 

To learn more about bee hotels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_hotel;

 

Amazon sells Insect Hotels: http://bit.ly/2H3qDQh 

 

Pesticide poisoning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees;

 

Asian Hornets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_hornet;

 

Privets act as nectaries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privet;

 

Capital Bee's Honey: http://www.capitalbee.co.uk/sites-and-honey/;

 

Bee Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_KD1enR3Q.

 

Guide to Bees and Honey by Ted Hooper: http://bit.ly/2H3qNqR

 

Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley: http://bit.ly/2Vk6WO9

 

Cooking with Honey by  Dr Paul J Vagg: http://bit.ly/2H6Ofn5

Daniel Hartz: Did you know a city can actually be a sanctuary for bees? Hey, this is Daniel Harts with sustainability matters today, a podcast where I showcase sustainability experts and discover their journeys. The aim of these conversations is to share ideas from leaders in the field on the financial benefits of adopting eco-friendly methodologies, through these talks I hope to uncover ways you as an individual can incorporate environmentally friendly practices into your daily life. In this episode my guest is Camilla Goddard, founder and owner of capital bee, an urban beekeeping operation in London England. Camilla keeps around 70 beehives for businesses and organizations around London, teaches beekeeping courses on the rooftop of a 4-star luxury hotel and finds homes for vulnerable bumblebees and honeybees.

We talked about how Camilla got started in beekeeping, we go into the importance of bees for both the environment and humans and why they play a crucial role in our ecosystem and although Camilla recognizes the challenges bees are facing, she's hopeful they can adapt and flourish, despite urbanization and climate change. You can learn more about Camilla and her work on her website, Capitalbee.co.uk that's capitalb-e-e.co.uk, let's jump in.

 

Daniel Hartz: I'm excited to be speaking with Camilla Goddard, owner of capital Bee, a beekeeping operation based in south and central London, that produces and sells honey, runs courses and keeps bees on behalf of other organizations such as schools, universities and businesses. In doing so, Camilla serves as a spokesperson on the importance of bee welfare, Camilla the purpose of this podcast is to ask sustainability experts like yourself about the importance of the work you're doing and to get advice on how bee welfare is not only important, but also cost-effective for our society in the long run. So, I'd like to ask about how you got started in this field, why bees are so critical, what beekeeping accomplishes and your suggestions for simple and sustainable things people listening to this podcast can do today to support bees and the bee population, how does that sound?

 

Camilla Goddard: Okay, that’s great. Well, thank you Daniel for having me on. I'm really delighted to be here, thank you.

 

Camilla Goddard: Great I'm very, very, delighted that you're here as well, I'd love to hear a bit-- before we dive into all the kind of interesting specifics of what you do, I'd love to hear more about your background and how you got started in in beekeeping.

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, I used to work in the arts for about 10-years and then I noticed that all my projects were becoming kind of environmental, because I was just interested in how things could be sustainable, even in-- when you're doing sculptures and outdoor pieces and stuff like that, how it would fit in with the environment and I just noticed that I was wanting to do green walls and stuff like that and at the same time, I was really interested in gardening, I had an allotment, I was trying to grow organically and a friend of mine said why don't we buy a wood together and we bought a wood.

 

Daniel Hartz: Wow, I didn’t know you could do that.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, I think it's called woodland.co.uk or something, you can buy woods.

 

Daniel Hartz: Okay.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, so, we ended up getting this sort of amazing like hornbeam wood, any little small wood and I was thinking that I'd like to do like forging a metalwork and have a little place there where I could make gates and stuff like that and decorative iron work.

 

Daniel Hartz: Wow, that’s cool.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, so-- and also, well, I won't disturb anybody there, maybe the birds will be upset, but anyway, I realized that it was quite a dangerous to see, after a couple of trips to A&E. So, I thought that's not going to work, but she was just lovely, visiting the woods and just being there and we make shelters and stuff, and then she bought a beehive and I was terrified, I just thought that's crazy, but. And I hadn't previously had any interest in insects at all really and then I just sort of suddenly got into it and I just thought my God, this is just amazing, there's so much to learn, they’re so complex, they're so clever. They have this whole society and they make this incredible honey and when you open up a hive, you can literally smell what's flowering, I mean-- you know and I just got deeper into it and then I was still living in London.

So, I just thought well, maybe I could just keep them in London and at that time, that's like you know about-- God, 15-years ago, people were scared at the idea of having bees, but fortunately a church had some spare land and they said well, without any question, they just said-- and I'm really pleased that the Vicar, this amazing lady did at the time. She said yes, that'd be great, why don't you have bees here and we'd love to have them and then I started keeping them there and then I started keeping them in parks and then the council said would you mind collecting swarms for us? And then a community garden said would you like to teach and eventually, I just thought you started to take over my life and I felt, you know what? I care more about this than I do-- I feel like I've done a lot of work in the arts and actually, I feel my heart it's more in this direction now, so, that's what happens and I did have a spiritual experience as well, which is quite good.

 

Daniel Hartz: Okay, that has always helped.

 

Camilla Goddard: Do you want to hear that?

 

Daniel Hartz: I’d love to, that sounds very interesting.

 

Camilla Goddard: I was in the garden and I was having-- I was sitting on a deck chair with a friend, we were chatting, having a cup of tea in the garden. And I had both hands on each side of the deck chair where the handles are and a honey bee landed on one hand and a bumble bee landed on the other one.

 

Daniel Hartz: Simultaneously?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, and I thought maybe that's a sign that I should get into beekeeping, this is kind of the way I'm going and then I realized later on that that actually wasn't the message, what it was is that you're going to do beekeeping with honey bees and then you're going to be doing bumble bee rescue with bumble bees, which happened later on when people had problems with bumble bees in their gardens and stuff and their landscaping or building or something. And I started doing relocating bumble bees, so, yes, it those sorts of things that kind of came together really.

 

Daniel Hartz: Wow! And then if we fast-forward 15-years from when you started, how many hives do you manage now?

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, actually this spring, because of the-- I gave up in time really, because; depending on the weather in each year, sometimes you have a really good year and you can really expand colonies. So now I’d say, I’m getting up to about 70, because you-- this last weekend has been-- it was so for the last couple of weeks, has been so warm, there’re a lot of colonies have been dividing. So, you end up with lots and lots of little small nucleus colonies to get going and build up, so, it's been-- in some ways it's big quick, very early spring for bees.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yes, I notice that as well, it’s just been a very warm year in general, well, that sounds like a very interesting start and it seems that it just sort of happened naturally, you kind of just fell into it…

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, absolutely, I mean, I was always interested in the environment, I was brought up on a farm and it kind of brought that kind of like-- I feel like I'm sort of farming in the city and if anywhere.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yes, which is very cool and I'd love to dig into that a bit more a bit later, I think it's really important for our audience to hear about why bees are so crucial for the environment and I'm sure you've been seeing it more than most of us have really, that all these headlines in the news about the bee population declining, so, I think it would be great to understand why that's so significant and why we should be so concerned.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, when you’re a beekeeper, you're looking after colonies and when they have problems, you're trying to deal with them, but in the wild, they're I think the things like varroa mite, which is a new thing in the last 10-years. Which is like a tiny mite which gets into the colony and it feeds on the larvae, so, that the bees don't develop properly and it can undermine the whole strength of a colony and if that spread all over Europe, now and most colonies at different degrees hovers. So, you're trying to keep that to a low level in the colony, so, it will survive, but there's only got pest problems like that, the say as change going on with a climate as well, that they're adapting all the time to this is a variable.

 

And then on top of that, you've got insecticides, so, even in London, I will have incidents of insecticide poisoning in beehives, so, people-- the thing about insecticide is people can spray something in their garden, they don't realize that that might be affecting a honey bee colony three miles away, because they travel three miles around their hive. So, even the beekeeper won't know where they're going and picking it up, so, people got to realize that what they're doing is connecting-- had a knock-on effect. So, it's not just happening in their garden, they can be affecting bee colonies 3 miles away by their-- by using this exercise.

 

So, and why they're really important, bees, or to two things I'd say, like they have a role in pollination which is really important, whereby they're enabling plants to make seeds. So, a huge role in our ecosystem, but also, when people say it's very important that we keep bee, because for us, actually just as another species, you know, they have every right to be here as much as we do. And you know we have this attitude that everything should serve us, well, actually, they were here before us, so, I feel that quite strongly when people say I was-- you must keep me going, so, that we've got feed to eat for ourselves and all  that, it's just respecting everything, even if it doesn't serve our purposes.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yes, at least not directly or necessarily specifically for us.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes.

 

Daniel Hartz: It's a really good point in that I guess that's the natural kind of way that humans are, is very-- we're very focused on ourselves and how things can serve us as you say and if bees are declining and obviously we can discuss that, it's bad, because bees where here first, but if we're to really sound the alarm and have people understand that the bee population declining is bad for humans, as well as the rest the environment, why should people be concerned?

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, that-- first of all, the fruits and vegetables that we eat, most of them are pollinated by bees, so, and all of sort of oranges and broccoli, all these different things that people eat, there's only a few things that are wind pollinated, like wheats, popcorn, those sorts of things. So, the diet would be totally messed up and if things continue, I do notice though this has been a massive sea change in attitude over the time I've been keeping bees.

Well, first of all, it's hard to find sites, then people with a have a free site and then they're saying, we will pay to look after bees for us, I mean that's huge change in London over the last 10-years. So, I think there's a lot of positivity as well, it's not just all bad news, I mean they’re a thousand new beekeepers in London, at least apparently.

Daniel Hartz: Brilliant, that's-- well, that's very good news and so, you mentioned that there are organizations and companies that are paying you to keep bees for them, why are they interested in that, what's their motivation behind that?

 

Camilla Goddard: Two things really, it’s up to a lot of schools, universities that kind of thing and that's really around education, though they may have like a green strategy as part of the school or they might have solar panels, they might be trying to kind of encourage kids to think about those sorts of things, but it’s usually things like education, sustainability, it's a big one for larger organizations. So, like I do the Quakers and keeping bees is part of a whole raft of things that they do, trying to put back into the environment, so, I notice those seems to be the main things.

And also, I notice they do stuff with some organizations, do staff training and it's kind of like something that they can all do and they feel positive about doing and if they come along and look inside a hive and-- they film-- it kind of brings people together, brings the organization together, makes them feel like they’re do something positive as well, beyond what their own work. So, lots of different kind of impacts really, some of them use like hotels, they use the honey for VIP stuff and so, it’s kind of-- it develops over time and people kind of get different things out of it really, but it's mostly education, is sustainability.

 

Daniel Hartz: Makes sense, I think that's-- yeah, really important, for people to learn how it all works out, I was discussing in a previous episode and there's so many kids in our society now, who don't have any idea where food comes from.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, absolutely.

 

Daniel Hartz: Or what it looks like and I'm sure that goes for honey as well and to think that honey comes from-- the whole process of honey, how, where honey comes from is quite complex and much more probably different than I would have imagined, many kids who have no idea, it's probably very different than what they think.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, I mean I teach in four or five primary schools and that's kind of more on the radar in education, bees and concern for the bees, but what's quite interesting is that behavior is learned actually, so, if I'm doing a school group and the teachers are afraid of bees or give off that vibe, the kids will pick that up. If they haven't learned that, like react differently, so, I had-- I was really shocked actually one day, I was doing a school group and this girl came forward and wanted to look in the hive and then she just looked in the hive and said, come to me my lovelies and I just thought like she had no fear at all, because she hadn't learnt it.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah.

 

Camilla Goddard: She had learnt-- they’ve been told that she would be frightened of it or something, so, she was very nice, completely just right in there, looking as if they were like real kittens or something. And it was amazing actually and I thought yeah, good for you actually and you're right, that's like your approach, if you approach with kind of gentleness and kindness, they will respond to that, where's if you're kind of all tense and you're too shocking the frames around, they'll pick that up too, so, if you're relaxed around them and so, and work at their pace, then they'll be fine, usually.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, animals really pick up on those kind of-- that energy that people give off…

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah.

 

Daniel Hartz: And speaking of teaching, part of what you do is you have beekeeping courses on the top-- on the rooftop of the St. Urban's Hotel in central London.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, it’s a terrace area where you can-- say people that stay in the hotel, it's a kind of glass thing and you can see the bees coming and going and then I'll take group sides if they want to have it like we do taster session. So, they'll go along, learn about bee society and equipment and how to get started and then we'll have a look at a hive, just so people can get used to it practically. I think some people learn in different ways and sometimes people like to sort of physically see how things go together and to get more hands-on experience. So, it's so quite good, we have a little colony-- look at a little colony so that they get used to it and feel comfortable, people don't know what to expect, they don't know the behaviors of bees, how they're going to be, so, I think that's quite a good way of really introducing people.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, it sounds absolutely fascinating, it's amazing that you can actually experience something like that, for someone who's not used to bees, that they can experience something like that, right in the middle of a big and busy city like London. It's so cool that it's right in the middle of it, but there's something like 350,000 honeybees living on that Terrace?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, so, each colony can go up to-- so, colonies go up and down according to the time of year, so, in the winter it might be a few thousand, by the end of the winter, January, February time and then as they expand, then they can go up to about 40 thousand in the height of the summer. So, it's a constantly sort of fluctuating and when you're looking after bees, you're working with them around the year, but you're so stacking up the hive when they're filling out with honey or you're trying to reduce it down, so, that they're all together during the winter to keep warm.

 

So, you're working with them and you're watching the weather, it’s a bit like gardening actually, because you're watching the weather all the time, because that all dictates how you work with them and how they're going to manage. Somebody said to me today, I was doing a talk segment today and this is an adult and a lot of people do ask this question, is what's honey for anyway for the bees? And it's actually-- is to help them get through winter, but also, if it rains throughout June, they'll eat up all the honey. So, they have to-- it's like that's why when you take honey off, you got to make sure they got plenty, it's a back-- they're security really for difficult times.

 

Daniel Hartz: So, it really is for a rainy day.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, they don't go out when it's raining, well, they don’t want-- they don’t like to go out when it’s raining, if they get caught out in the rain, that can be really bad news for them.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, that's-- I'm sure their wings don't really like the wet.

Camilla Goddard: No.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, makes sense and so, you mentioned what you teach and it's really just getting people comfortable with it, I guess-- what would-- what do you hope your students or the people who join this course, what do you hope they take away and potentially do once they're done?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, it's funny actually, that a lot of people going courses, it's like a birthday present or yeah, a Christmas present or something, it's something that they kind of meant to do for themselves for a long time, but haven't got around to. Somebody had to sort of step in or you get people that are-- have got a fear of bees and they're trying to get over it, you get people that come on courses for that, interesting. And then you get other people that are-- that have got an idea that they want to move out of London and be self-sufficient and live in the country and grow their own food.

 

And so, they go on a beekeeping course and then they got a chicken keeping course, so, it's interesting to mix that you get and as people that are coming up to retire, but also, I'm surprised, it's such a mixture nowadays. When I started beekeeping, it was mostly guys, now, it's actually, it's about two thirds women and a lot of younger people, so, it's sort of-- it's changed a lot and that’s in London, I don’t know if that’s true for the rest of the country, but certainly in London, it’s a really diverse mix actually, which is great.

 

Daniel Hartz: That's really cool, that's a very interesting part of what you do, sounds like it’s what's called urban beekeeping and that's where you're keeping bees in the city as opposed to out in the country and so, is urban beekeeping an important part of the restoration of the bee population?

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, I'd say London is a city's, it's a different situation in some ways, because it's kind of like a sanctuary, because there's less crop spraying and that kind of thing. So, they're not having to deal with the insecticides they might do in the country, but also, you're going to get a different type of honey as well, so, London honey there-- what's so important about London is that there’s so many lime trees planted along the streets. Those lime trees are real lifesaver, some people call them linden trees, they're this big trees that can cope with pollution actually, there's are all over central London.

 

Trees are really important for bees, people kind of think it's all about lavenders of life, sort of bushes and flowers, but actually trees really are the lifeblood of these bee populations. And it makes a fantastic kind of citrusy sort of honey, but they don't see London-- if you're a bee, you don't see London is a city, just say it's a different type of landscape and you're looking at plants like palm trees and it's different, not native plants, but all sorts, you're looking at the one to the highest sugar contents in the nectar. So, there's just selecting what they think is the best and I am occasionally get asked by-- I've got University of London actually was one of them that asked, can you get the honey analyzed to see where the bees are going?

 

So, we kind of come back to the kind of-- a whole list of Latin names from this lab and you work it out and basically, it's like a cocktail really, that they're mixing up and one of them-- I hadn't really been aware of, is a tree called Tree of Heaven, which they love in London and they go to that and they're going along the railway networks and they're picking up on brambles, they’re going to allotments. You can see that just by what's coming up, but in terms of where they're going, so, it's really interesting, because you can't really ask them, but you can actually send it off and get it analyzed and that means that when I ought to tell people what to plant for bees, I can base it on what I know they're visiting, rather than just conjecture about it.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, makes a lot of sense, as far as the diversity of what the bees are eating or gathering with the trees that they're visiting and plants as well, St. Herman's has a B & B hotel, which I love that name and it's basically 20 large hexagonal shelves, which just are on a wall, on the roof of the hotel and if you look at the photo of this shelf, there's a bunch of things inside each one of those shelves, there’s like twigs and all sorts of dried stuff. So, what exactly is a bee hotel and how does it work?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, yeah, so, what that sports actually aimed at solitary bees, so, honey bees live in hives, bumble bees-- it depends on the type, but most of them are kind of social and they live under the ground or under paving sites. Some of them, like tree bumble bees get into people's roofs actually, but solitary bees, they have a very tiny little life cycle and they like to lay eggs in stalks. So, we only go to a garden center, you'll see a lot of these sort of bamboo cane cut in half, what those were for things like leaf-cutter bees or masonry bees, those sorts of things, which likes those as a habitat.

 

So, what's happening now, it’s just like a whole load of different types of habitats and also, those cardboard is a home for things like lace wings, so, you can make it for different types of insects, depending on what you're trying to attract. It's making holes in wood as well, there's another thing that leaf cutter bees like, so, they like tiny, tiny, holes, if you want to encourage them into your garden, different sizes of canes as well. So, buy every type and it takes a while for them to find it and it needs to be up in a kind of head level sunny sort of spores and attached to a wall or something like that, so, it's got a solid back to it, not just hanging.

 

So, it might take a year or two for them to find it and then once they get going, they get established, that I share-- I had a call from something this week who thought they had a swarm of bees, but in fact, it was home on an allotment, they'd put up one of these bark Hotel type things and it attracted so many solitary tiniest of solitary bees, that don't sting, they're just a little things, that she thought it was actually a swarm. And she'd had it there for a year and had noticed that, so and its hot weather, they were all sort of active…

 

Daniel Hartz: Wow, it’s amazing that there are so many she thought it was a swarm.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah.

 

Daniel Hartz: That's amazing, you mentioned the leaf cutter and masonry bees, a previous guest Elena Hartz, she mentioned that those bees are almost twice as effective at pollinating as honey bee, I was wondering what is the value of bee diversity.

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, we've got-- I think it’s over a couple of hundred types of bees in the UK, different bees, like different plants, so, they all have their own little system going. So, if you look in a garden, that’re all different flowers, you're noticed like Redtail bumble bees are on chives or another type is on another type of flower, it depends. So, what's adapted for them and what they're looking for at that particular time, so, it's a very complex system and if anything, sort of dies out within that system, has a knock-on effect to the plants that it's engaged with.

 

So, it's about seeing the thing holistically, that we need all of these different types of pollinators, I mean even wasp to pollinate-- I mean, I'm not keen wasp, because they’re attack bees, but they all have their role and it’s important to try and sustain them and create habitats for them all. If people want to help bees, they have to become a beekeeper, just planting, those variety types of bees, whether it's foxgloves or bumble bees or Quakers in the spring, to help bees find pollen to feed their larvae. Those sorts of things are just as important, because we need the forage for them, it's no point just keeping lots of bees everywhere, you need to have plenty of forage for them, so, that it can be sustainable for all of us.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, going back to what we were talking about earlier with the importance of bees and potentially the declining bee population, first of all, are you seeing any sort of declines in bee population in your day to day?

 

Camilla Goddard: Well, I'm seeing insecticide poisoning and that seems to be continuing, so, that is a real concern for me and there isn't-- so far, although there's things you can do is get rid of the varroa mites in colonies, that's of carrying on, bees haven't really found a way of getting rid of it completely yet on their own, so, those kind of things are a threat. And one thing that is coming is Asian Hornets, they're already in the UK apparently and they will knock out a colony, they're in France and Spain and they will find colonies, they have Scouts that find colonies and then all the Hornet colony will come and they can wipe out a honeybee colony in an hour or so you know.

 

And that's one that's coming, so, they're just having quite a tough time at the moment, so many things that have seem to be lining up, making it hard for them, so, but I’m hopeful, just because there’s much more support for bees and people are much more aware of their impact on them. so, I'm fingers crossed hopeful and all the people are learning about beekeeping now, we'll be teaching their children or friends in the future, so, it's much more expertise around than there was 10-years ago, so, I feel hopeful.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, that’s great, I think that's the most important thing, is that optimism and as long as people are paying attention and mindful of what they're doing on a day to day basis, I would imagine that there really is reason to be hopeful and as you say, over the last 15 years, you've really seen a change in how people are thinking about bees.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, friends of the earth did a really brilliant campaign actually to help bees and they had a whole plants list and they did a lot of stuff in schools and they raised awareness. And it's that kind of thing that really helps that shit changes public opinion and it helps to support what we're trying to do, is keep bees going really.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, that's fantastic and you mentioned this earlier, but what-- aside from planting for bees in your garden, what can people do on a day-to-day basis to encourage bee populations and to keep these healthy?

 

Camilla Goddard: So, try to avoid products in your garden, it's just-- it's not just farmers using insecticides, just that some of the products you might think are normal garden sprays and stuff like that, they might contain these certainly and intranight, so, just research about what could affect in the insect population in your area before you sort of need your-- start using products when you're not sure the actual impact they're going to have, because I'm sure people don't realize what- if they are poisoning bees, that may not mean to, is just certain-- just not aware of the chemicals they’re dealing with, that kind of thing.

 

Trying to keep your hedge rows or even in London, hedges provides like privets actually, has certain mixtures in the plant, which provides nectar for beef. So, there's funny the things like that trying to grow trees that would be friendly, looking at the whole approach and there will be things like occasionally in London, knows more beekeepers there will be swarms, if you see a swarm in your area, call the British beekeeping Association and somebody will pop down and pick it up and give it a home. Instead of them being something that’s scary, I mean swarms are not-- people that think that swarms are like our bees maybe aren’t, but they're not, they don't want to sting anybody, they're just actually quite vulnerable, still looking for a new home somewhere and they’re just trying-- waiting for the scouts to tell them where to go.

 

And particularly in London, it's quite a tough environment to find a new home if you're a bee, so, they end up going to search in new parts and things like that, but if you can bring up a local beekeeper and get them to pop down and pick them up and give them a home, that'll be great. That kind of thing, if you can buy local honey, that'll help support local beekeepers and that sort of thing, but the planting is really important, yes, really the key.

 

Daniel Hartz: And do you, you mentioned buying local honey, do you sell the honey that you have?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, I do, properly and Greenwich honey and that goes through local delis in the area and graces that's a thing, it's only between really July and October when they sort of produce in surplus and they stop sealing it towards the midsummer, so, yeah, yeah.

 

Daniel Hartz: I'm sure it's delicious, I'd love to try some of that.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yes, yes, actually, well, you get grey trying to use much, because you not going to get into the season, it says chestnut honey, it’s dark and it's like caramel barley sugar sort of flavors, it’s not that sweet, it's just like really rich and deep. But London honey in general starts off quite light in the spring, sort of floral and citrusy and then as the year goes on it gets darker and richer and sort of less sweets more kind of caramels, but that’s in general, but it varies reaching like…

 

Daniel Hartz: Wow!

 

Camilla Goddard: But each hive is making different decisions as a society, so, honey in one hive next to another one might taste different, because they've made sure-- they use things like the waggle dance, they have this sort of dance that they do inside the hive on the surface of the frame, which indicates to the other bees the best direction to go in, where they can find a good source of nectar. So, that's-- so it means that within the hive and according to the season, you might have different types of honey, different flavors and adjacent hives can taste completely different. So, they're like a society trying to work out what's best for their survival.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, it's amazing and it's interesting to hear that the color and taste of the honey changes depending on the time of year.

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah and what's flowering, and the temperature outside, so, based on flowers, it's about 10 degrees, right, as the temperature goes up, flowers start to release nectar, that's why last week all bees across London were going crazy, filling up hives, I mean, I've never seen honey so early in the year as this and I have been keeping bees for about 15-years, so, it's an extraordinary spring. But it's great for some hives, because if a weak hive, it's a good nectar flow, it really boosts them up and they’re really motivations and it can turn them around, from having a hard time to feeling really positive.

 

It's almost like you can fence the made change, when you open up a hive, you know what mood they’re in, because of the way that they sound, but they may not do anything, they may not make much sound at all, that's good, but sometimes they barge in a really warm day and things are going well, you can hear them humming, you can feel that sort of excitement and they're doing some little dances, showing each other what to do and they're all shaking and dancing around. And that’s because they are excited, there’s even a dance called the joy dance, which is just like a little shake, you know that things are going well.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, wow, how cool is that?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, it’s amazing.

 

Daniel Hartz: Yeah, well, do you have any book or two that you could recommend about bees or beekeeping?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, I suppose there’s a lot of books like Care to users guide to bees and honey, is a classic, if you're interested in bee behavior and bee society, which is really complex and amazing, there’s a book called the honeybee democracy, which is pretty incredible. Which sort of talks about different types of dances that they do and then there's a lot of books that come out recently, center about honey and how to cook with honey, which are really fantastic actually. Taking a lot of inspiration to the Middle Eastern cuisine actually, so, it depends what you're into and there's certainly loads more books on beekeeping now, over the last 10-years, been a huge-- sort of interest in it.

 

And it's often-- even within gardening books, there’s a section on house keep bees as well and those sort of things, so, shop around and modern books are best for beekeeping really in some ways, because they are dealing with modern problems, so, forever mot didn’t exist 10-years ago or before that, so, if you want to keep bees, there’s that. But some of the old books are amazingly, they really features, they illustrators and-- yeah, show how people used to keep these and I like to look at the old books too, but just via practically keeping these modern ones, there’s lots illustrations you get, so, you know what to look for.

 

Daniel Hartz: Well, thank you for that, and finally, where can people find you and learn more about what you're doing?

 

Camilla Goddard: So, I got a website called capsulebee.co.uk you can always get through to me that way, just drop your line and questions-- I'm always happy to answer questions.

 

Daniel Hartz: Excellent, cool and when is that next beekeeping course at the St. Armand’s hotel and how can people book if they’re interested?

 

Camilla Goddard: Yeah, they are online and so, you look at St. Armand’s website, I think there is a page which tells you of upcoming beekeeping courses or if they're booked up, there's a waiting list too to go on, sometimes I’ll arrange extra courses as well as the mission. So, yeah, just go to St, Armand’s website and I’ll-- suppose there’s I quit.

 

Daniel Hartz: Excellent, great, well, Camilla, thank you so much for your time, this was really, really, enlightening and very interesting to hear about bees and how you got started in it and all the different things that they can do.

 

Camilla Goddard: Oh, testify with your work, it's really great what you’re doing.

 

Daniel Hartz: Much appreciated, thank you so much.

 

Thank you for listening to episode three of sustainability matters today, you can find links to the books Camilla mentioned and the beekeeping courses at the St. Armand’s Hotel London, in the show notes, which you can see on my website, sustainabilitymatters.today. If you enjoyed this or any other SMT episodes, I'd really appreciate if you could take the time to give a five-star review, please subscribe to the podcast, to be the first to know about new episodes, talk to you soon.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • RSS Social Icon
  • Spotify Social Icon

© 2019 by Sustainability Matters Today