Everyone knows that bees are really good pollinators - but if you listen to the scientists, you will come to realise just how vitally important they are. The European Honeybee is welcomed by gardeners and allotment holders alike because of its excellent pollination effects, and we should encourage them to visit our plots by whatever means possible.
Sadly, the population of European Honeybees has been in steady decline over the past 50 years, and it is widely recognised that changes affecting the natural environment are to blame. The intensification of agriculture and the increasing use of pesticides are thought to be major contributory factors in this decline, and we as gardeners need to take steps to help them, and in doing so - help ourselves.
Allotment sites are generally considered to be good places to locate beehives, and the Barnstaple Allotment Association is keen to promote the keeping of bees on individual plots (subject to any restrictions imposed by the Barnstaple Town Council as the local allotment authority). To this end, we have provided a monetary grant towards the cost of establishing a colony of bees on the Sunnybank site, and are prepared to offer a similar incentive to other sites; we will however, only fund one colony per site.