honey monster

by bellab

Beehives in Volterra, Tuscany courtesy of Andy Hill

Bees are having a hard time right now. Facing dwindling numbers due to parasites, pesticides and attack from the ever prolific wasp, it’s little wonder they manage to survive at all. Ironically however, the health and beauty industry is buzzing (sorry, couldn’t resist) with bee-related hype. Considering the influence and sheer pots of money beauty brands can throw at their chosen cause, could this be the bees saving grace?

French organic experts Melvita are one such brand investing heavily in future of bees. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re already famed for their high quality honeys, royal jelly ampoules (the food produced by the bees to feed the Queen, rich in amino acids and vits B) and skincare formulas containing honey. They love bees so much the Covent Garden branch have installed an apiary on a nearby rooftop, lovingly tended by Camilla Goddard of Capital Bee, and come harvest time, will sell the honey in store. Beyond London the Melvita Foundation support at least 15 charitable projects around the world that support organic farming, including the PUR project in Peru which provides 2 years of beekeeping training and facilities to a local tribe called the Queehua in the hope of returning traditional bee keeping methods to an area where the process has almost virtually been wiped out.

Camilla at the Covent Garden hives

But, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning bee venom, although it’s with very mixed feelings that I include it. Bee venom or ‘sting’ is now being touted as a natural botox and skin healing substance and thanks to famous faces like Kate Middleton (sigh, she knows not what she does), women are buying bee venom formulas by the wheelbarrow load in the hope they’ll achieve a similar royal glow (please, it’s her genes alright?). But I have huge reservations about it. Even if the bees aren’t harmed, which I’m just not buying, they must undergo huge stress to have the substance extracted. If you know otherwise please do correct me, but in my mind the bees can do without this extra demand on their already diminishing resources.

Far nicer and safer for the bees is this skin-fixing Bee Balm from Brixi. It’s made by Emy’s mum (Emy owns the shop) with by-products from her hive and magically smoothes flaky skin and sun-dried lips. Her beeswax candles are worth a look, and sniff, too.

Bee Balm, stock up now it won’t be around for long…

So, what can you do to help the bees I hear you cry? The British Bee Keepers Association has some great information on their website here. If you have a garden or rooftop and would like to try keeping your own bees, contact Camilla at Capital Bee for more information on how to get started. Or if, like me, you live in a top floor flat you can do your bit by planting up some window boxes or pots with bee-friendly flowers (lavender and alliums are faves – angelica gets them drunk!) and watch in awe as these magical little creatures go about their business quietly saving the world, and potentially blitzing wrinkles, in one fell swoop.