One of my favourite places to visit in the summer is Mayfield Lavender Farm, it's just a short drive from where we live and now a very popular attraction with tourists. One creature you'll be sure to see plenty of during your visit is the honey bee - busily working away. Mayfield are offer special Bee Safaris throughout the summer and they have told me a little more about the honey bee.
They stunned the world after it was found they can perform basic maths, yet the humble honey bee is under greater threat than ever before.
A recent study discovered that honey bees can understand the concept of zero and perform arithmetic operations like addition and subtraction.
But with their numbers in serious decline due to habitat loss, climate change and pesticides, their future may not be all that bright. As a result beekeepers believe there has never been a better time to learn about these fascinating creatures.
Beekeeper Tracey, who runs popular bee safaris at Mayfield Lavender Farm, said: “We are only just starting to understand the intelligence of bees - their understanding of zero, the way they communicate, the way they navigate etc!
“People are always fascinated about how bees organise their complex societies, and also how and why they make honey.
“They find it incredible to see the honey bees in their hives and learn about the products they produce such as honey, beeswax, royal jelly and propolis.
“But the other big area of interest for people is to understand what they can do to help honey bees.”
Secret Life of the Honey Bee
During her Secret Life of the Honey Bee Safaris, Tracey explains simple measures that can help, like planting lavender and other bee friendly garden plants.
She said: “Many of us know that bees are in decline but very few people have ever seen a honey bee colony up close. It is truly fascinating. A bee safari is a great opportunity to learn about them by seeing inside their amazing hidden world. And also for people to learn about how they can help the bees themselves.”
The Secret Life of the Honey Bee Safari is a 3 hour experience that provides both adults and children an insight into the fascinating world of beekeeping. It takes place at Mayfield Lavender Farm in Banstead, Surrey, on selected dates throughout June, July and August.
Tickets cost £55 for children and £75 for adults and includes:
Entry to Mayfield Lavender Farm, arrival hot or cold drink and homemade lavender shortbread, introduction to beekeeping, honey tasting session, guided tour of the beehives (participants will be provided with a bee suit and gloves), Q & A Session with beekeeper.
Mayfield Lavender Farm can be found at 1 Carshalton Rd, Banstead, Surrey, SM7 3JA. The venue is open annually from June 1st to September 15th when the farm is in bloom.
Tours can accommodate up to 5 people. Maximum of 2 children per group. Suitable for ages 7+
For times and dates available, and to book, visit Mayfield Lavender.
What you can do to help honey bees
* To find out what you can do to help the plight of bees, pop into Mayfield Lavender Farm nursery and gift shop in Epsom, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a leaflet listing the top tips for planting lavender.