In the second of two blog posts today, our beekeepers, Khalil and Salma, are taking care of lots of beehives on the roof of the London Muslim Centre.

There are 5 beehives on the roof, but also several small boxes. Some of these contain frames taken from the beehives, with the intention of creating new queens.

When a queen is removed from a hive, usually with a frame or two of bees, the remaining bees will try to develop a new queen. This may be done with the aim of replacing an older a queen that is less productive, or simply to create a new colony. Ideally, queens are bred from colonies with the best temperament.

This is all part of properly managing beehives – and it’s a great deal of work, especially at this time of the year. By working together, husband and wife team Khalil and Salma can cut down the time it takes, but it’s still a few hours on each visit. Above we see Salma using smoke to calm the bees as she inspects a brood box.

Every frame is carefully taken out and checked. And they’re much heavier than they look!

Despite all the challenges of COVID-19, there hasn’t been any negative effect on our beekeeping. The weather this year has been consistently good, and the bees are finding plenty of forage. If anything, the reduction in traffic and pollution during the lockdown has benefited wildlife in London.