Salma with frame

An Interview with Brushwood Bees

In out third article inspired by World Bee Day Waltham Forest Bee Keeper Salma Attan explains her reasons for taking up beekeeping.

Why do I keep bees?

I’ve been keeping bees along with my husband for over 10 years and I could never have imagined at the time where our beekeeping would lead us or how far our “hobby” would grow.

At the time our reasons for taking up beekeeping were simply to ease my husband Khalils awful hay fever. The constant runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing all summer long was getting a little out of hand. Khalil was fed up of taking daily tablets, which seemed ineffective anyway. Something had to change!

We started looking into local honey and hoped this would help. One evening on a commute home, Khalil spotted a tiny article in the newspaper about a taster beekeeping course. We both attended and found the course fascinating…..this was the beginning of our beekeeping journey. We joined our local beekeepers association, we enrolled on a full six week course and the rest just rolled from there.

Today beekeeping is my full time job. I teach beekeeping, run experience days and give beekeeping talks and although this has all come to a halt with the pandemic and lockdown in place, I look forward to it all when things return to some normality. Beekeeping is now, so much more then an alleviation for Khalils hay fever symptoms. It has also become an alleviation from the stresses of everyday life, a connection to nature. The peace and tranquility whilst inspecting my bees is a real joy. It is not just the benefits for me either. The contribution honeybees make to the community are huge, not just in terms of a free pollination service but the awareness of environmental issues. Beekeeping starts conversations and is a fantastic way to connect with people. The importance of the collective greater responsibility we have to our surroundings is now at the forefront of many interested in preserving our environment. The majority of us understand we all have a role to play. For some its the planting of flowers, trees and shrubs, creating safe havens for the smaller creatures in our locality, cutting back on food waste and reducing our plastic consumption. Even ensuring we don’t drop litter or keep our travel as climate friendly as possible. Beekeeping for me is a small part of that larger picture. Whereas I may be pretty awful at gardening my beekeeping’s not bad and I hope I am going some way to help pollination and increase the forage for all pollinators I our area.

And as a bonus I get to supply my local customers with, in my biased opinion, the best tasting honey around!

Salma Attan

Salma Attan teaching
Salma teaching how to collect honey.