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Darlington Beekeepers Association: looking after the Pollinators

The association has two apiaries where it teaches beekeeping and looks after honeybees. The main apiary is in the Denes on the site of the old bowling green. The association has a 10-year lease from the council for this area and has recently installed an onsite toilet to enable school’s visits.

Future plans

The society wants to try and be as self-sufficient as they can be. So future plans include solar panels and building a grey water system to flush the toilet.

A major plan is to build an education suite. This will allow more schools to visit and will be used to deliver training courses and interest visits from community organisations.

The Darlington BKA runs a two season training course. In the first year it runs over 14 weeks: 6 weeks studying theory followed by 8 weeks hands on with an expert mentor. At the end of the course, participants will be ready to look after their bees on their own, understanding how to keep them healthy. This is reinforced by 6 weeks of more detailed theory which will enable participants to achieve a formal qualification in beekeeping in the second year. This course is supervised by qualified beekeepers.

Top tips from the experts

Keep an eye on your bees for potential predators. Wasps are, of course, also important pollinators, but they can decimate a colony. The association has traps around the site to keep attacks to a minimum. The British Beekeeping Association Forum recommends minimizing the entrance size to make it easier for the bees to defend.

A potential new threat is emerging from Asian Hornets. As yet this isn’t an issue for us in the North East, but is a problem in the south of England and it is not difficult to imagine that their range will move north. It is highly unlikely that Asian Hornets will attack people unless they are threatened, and they won’t eat the honey, but they will eat bees, and ANY OTHER INSECT. Recent studies have shown that Asian Hornets have a very varied diet of pollinators. If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet should report it immediately using the phone app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or the online reporting form. Further information and links are at


If you can try and plant flowers that bloom at different times of year so bees and other pollinators can get pollen and nectar all year round.

Some of the plants you might want to try are:

  • Lavender
  • Borage
  • Raspberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Persicaria
  • Sunflowers
  • Comfrey
  • Wallflowers

Lots of information on planting for pollinators can be found on the BBKA website

The site on The Denes is open on Tuesday’s from 10-12. You can buy honey (while stocks last) and talk to members. Those who like to support pollinators of all kinds are welcome to help with the garden on Tuesdays 10-12.

Darlington Beekeepers will also be at the Darlington Eco Fair on 8th June, so you can meet and chat with them there.

Photo of bees around beehive

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