Urban Bees

My guest this week is urban apiculturist Mark Patterson. Mark founded and runs Apicultural where he work with businesses and communities to invest in natural capital, improving the environment for pollinators and delivering pollinator monitoring surveys for clients. He provides honey bee hive management solutions, beekeeping training and education and also supplies quality urban honey to a select group of establishments. So you’d think Mark would be all for the idea of urban honeybees, right? Listen on…

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What We Talk About 

How many hives are there in London, does anybody have an estimate? Is it a sustainable number? Where are they foraging for floral resources? Are there enough of these?

Are urban conditions more taxing for bees? Do environmental stressors lead to higher incidences of disease, for example?

Do managed bees outcompete wild bees when it comes to consuming pollen and nectar?

Are managed bees necessary? Useful? Desirable? Filling a niche left by potentially dwindling numbers of wild bees? A useful pollination and food source for humans?

Why are commercial beekeeping companies trying to muscle in on the beekeeping tradition in London?

Do honeybees count as an ‘environmental credit’ in terms of planning and building?


About Mark Patterson

After completing a National Diploma in Agriculture, Land use and recreation which included a practical Horticultural course Mark went on to study for an Honours Degree in Countryside Management and Ornithology at Kingston Upon Hull University – an ecology based course of study. It was during this time at University that Mark was introduced to bee keeping by a fellow student.

As senior Consultant Mark has amassed over 26 years of experience in the fields of nature conservation and ecology. His past professional positions include marine biologist/ranger on the Farne islands national nature reserve, Countryside Ranger for a local Authority, Nature reserve manager for Durham Wildlife services, Worked on a bird of prey Reintroduction program with the RSPB , Freelance consultancy and 11 years as a project and program manager for a national Environmental regeneration Charity, Groundwork.

Having assisted others with their beekeeping for several years Mark began bee keeping on his own in 2010 having attended an introduction course and a seasons mentoring. Since then he has volunteered extensively for Bee keeping associations, serving as elected committee official and Trustee to the LBKA, taught courses and organised forage planting activities for the bee keeping community he serves. Mark spent 3 years working for DEFRA as a seasonal Bee Inspector and currently cares for around 30 colonies of honey bees,10 of which are his own.

Mark currently posses the BBKA Bee basic certificate, BBKA Honey bee management certificate, several of the BBKA modular exam certificates and the General Husbandry certificate. Mark has extensive training and experience in notifiable bee diseases diagnosis and management.

As well as Honey Bees Mark is also highly knowledgeable about Solitary bees and Bumblebees and teaches Bee identification courses for the Field Studies Council as part of the nationwide BioLinks program.



Mark Patterson on LinkedIn 


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