Bees have been around for about 120 million years, approximately the amount to time it took for the shells of sea creatures to form the chalk cliffs of Thanet.
Bees transformed the world. Plants evolved flowers to attract early bees, their nectar offering an incentive in exchange for their pollination services. Without bees human survival would be far from certain.
Honeybees make up only 5 of around 20000 species of bee worldwide. The European honeybee, Apis Mellifera is not endangered though wild populations are less common than they once were.
I have been keeping bees since 2008. Their behaviour continues to fascinate me and in an odd way I consider it part of my art practice. The bees I keep can be found all over Margate. The honey they produce can be found in a few local shops – Turner Contemporary, Dory’s and The Graingrocer. If you want to buy it direct, or if you are interested in Stocking Wild Margate products, Email dominic(at)wildmargate.co.uk for more info.
The honey comes from around 4 hives I keep in Cliftonville. My methods are a combination of natural beekeeping and what seems to me good animal husbandry. All my bees are in National beehives but I only run foundationless hives. this means all the wax is completely natural and the hives are, as far as possible natural. The bees decide their own cell size and the number of drone (male) bees. I don’t use Queen excluders so the queen is able to roam freely. I always leave the bees sufficient honey to overwinter without feeding sugar. They seem to do well in my slightly idiosyncratic system. The wax is truly amazing.
After a few years I launched the Made with Beeswax brand, this includes wax food wraps and leather and wood polishes.
The food wraps are made with vegetable dyes made with plants from the garden or grown locally and certified organic cotton. The patterns are made by creating colour resistant areas by selectively soaking them in molten wax.
The wood and leather polish is made from pure wax, pure turpentine and carnauba wax. Don’t treat your antiques with anything else!