Beekeeping at Packwood

The new bee hives at Packwood

If you pay a visit to the orchard at Packwood on your next visit you’ll notice a new addition to the picturesque landscape that’s creating quite a buzz.

On Monday 19 March, Richard Collins a garden volunteer here at Packwood, introduced two new bee hives containing approximately 7,500 bees in each to our recently constructed Packwood orchard apiaries. March was picked for moving day because they are relatively inactive at this time of year and less prone to stress from such a move from his own local apiary in Solihull.

Packwood has lots of nectar rich flowers for the bees
Close up of a bee on lavender
Packwood has lots of nectar rich flowers for the bees

Honey bees are important pollinating insects and here in the orchard we have two National bee hives. During the summer there could be up to  50,000 bees in each colony .  There is one queen bee whose main job is to lay the eggs. There are a few hundred male drone bees, whose sole job is to mate with the queen bee. The queen is looked after by the young female worker bees who do practically all the work in the colony, look after the brood (eggs and larvae), clean and maintain the hive and when older they forage for nectar and pollen. 

The bees visit different flowers during the season, flying up to 2 or 3 miles to collect nectar and pollen which they bring back to their hive. They produce honey from the nectar and store it in wax honey comb. 

The bees are enjoying the flowers in our kitchen garden.
Bee in a flower at Packwood House, Warwickshire
The bees are enjoying the flowers in our kitchen garden.

We are hoping to harvest this in late July/early August leaving some honey for the bees. This new introduction brings back our historic connection to housing bees at Packwood – pop along to the south facing wall of the Raised Terrace and you will be able to see the bee boles and skeps. 

If you see Richard or Joanne in the gardens at Packwood on your visit they will be happy to answer any question you have on our bee hives.

There are plenty of flowers for the bees to enjoy at Packwood
Bee at Packwood House, Warwickshire
There are plenty of flowers for the bees to enjoy at Packwood