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Beekeeping: Urban Areas

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 20410, tabled on 22 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage bee keeping in large towns and cities.

Answered on

30 June 2021

Beekeeping can be very enjoyable and rewarding. However, beekeepers have a duty of care to look after their bees properly, so we recommend that anyone thinking about keeping bees gets advice from different sources including BeeBase, the National Bee Unit's website. BeeBase is designed for beekeepers, supports the Defra Bee Health Programme, and provides a wide range of information including how to keep colonies healthy and productive as well as honey bee related legislation.

People thinking about taking up beekeeping may also wish to contact their local beekeeping association who will be able to provide other information, including on any training courses that they offer. We would also recommend visiting an apiary, which the association may help to arrange. The association may also be able to advise about how many beekeepers there are in the area and whether there is likely to be sufficient forage for all the pollinators.

Research also highlights the importance of urban gardens and other green spaces in supporting wild bees and other pollinating insects, including bumble and solitary bees. Through the National Pollinator Strategy, we work with public, private and voluntary sector partners to develop advice and encourage everyone to support a range of insect species, by planting flowers, managing land appropriately or providing bug hotels in window boxes, gardens and other private and public spaces. The Defra-coordinated Bees' Needs Week promotes and celebrates such action. This year's campaign runs from 12 to 18 July.