Storm Eunice killed my honeybees. Help me restart

by [email protected] in Penzance, England, United Kingdom

Storm Eunice killed my honeybees. Help me restart
We did it
On 27th March 2022 we successfully raised £265 with 13 supporters in 28 days

Storm Eunice killed my last surviving honeybee colony. I am raising funds to buy a colony of native Cornish blackbees, to start over again

by [email protected] in Penzance, England, United Kingdom

Who am I?

1645978293_emi-crop.jpgMy name is Lisa.  I live in west Cornwall.  I am a beekeeper, wild-garden & allotment grower, writer and all-round creative, with a range of projects always on the go.  I am also 'grandma' - that's me there, with granddaughter Emi (then aged 4), my beekeeping apprentice.

What is my project?

Storm Eunice caused a lot of damage for a lot of people.  In my case, this unusual bit of 'weather' destroyed my colony of honeybees, which live in my friend's field here in wild west Cornwall.  I'm aiming to replace them, with Cornish black bees. 

Why be a beekeeper?  Honeybees are a vital part of the world's ecosystem.  Honeybees pollinate the flowers of trees and plants, producing fruit, nuts and seeds.  Honeybees also are food themselves for small birds and mammals.  Honey is produced by honeybees, from the nectar they collect from flowers, as they go about their essential business of pollination.  Beekeepers play a vital role in supporting honeybees and other pollinating insects - including, in my case, growing a wide variety of flowering plants, providing food forage for them all. 

Why Cornish Black Bees?

1645978262_bee_dandelion.jpgLike all living organisms, honey bees have evolved over many thousands, even millions of years, in parallel with their surrounding environment. In Europe, we have the native European dark honeybee Apis Mellifera Mellifera, specially adapted to differing regions.  In Britain the native black bee evolved to withstand the damp, cold climate, with its shorter summer and long dark winter.  Sadly, it was thought that the native British black honeybee had become extinct - until recently, when native black bees were found living wild in certain places - including here in Cornwall, where conservation projects such as the B4 Project and Cornish Black Bees now work to protect, promote, and preserve our native Cornish black honeybee. 

How much do I need?  A nucleus (start up) colony of Cornish black bees costs in the region of £250.

What will I do with the money raised? I will buy a start-up colony of Cornish black bees, from a reputable local breeder.

How will I spend any surplus funds?   Any surplus funds will be invested in more black bees (I have several empty hives, awaiting occupation).  Alternatively, additional funds will go towards the purchase of a top bar hive, a different way of keeping bees that may be more suited to this sometimes weather-beaten location.   

How much to donate? I am grateful for all donations of any amount, large or small, helping me to reach my target. 

1645977815_honey.jpgWhat will I (as donator) get it return?  Firstly, and most obviously, the 'feel good' factor of knowing that you are helping a small-scale hobby beekeeper to continue beekeeping - which in turn means you are helping honeybees to survive - which in turn means you are helping the wider environment, including wildlife and also human life, as a whole. For those donating £10 or above, there is the promise of honey to come. Anybody donating a minimum £10 can receive (by post) one 8oz/227g jar of honey, made specifically by these bees, as a 'thank you' from me (and the bees!) for your support.  Single-hive, raw, polyfloral honey; a taste of west Cornwall.  This does, however, come with a conditional time-delay of up to 18 months.  Because honey does not 'happen' overnight.  Once purchased, and then installed, these  bees will need time to settle into their new home, and get going with honey production.  And, like a lot of small-scale hobby beekeepers, I leave most of the honey for the bees, taking only a small amount, when available, for human consumption.  So it could take some time.  But the offer is there.

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