Kings Orchard is a smallholding situated in the pretty village of Harrowbarrow, just off the A390 in the Tamar Valley in Cornwall.
We have beehives at different locations across a large part of the Tamar Valley and produce honey, beeswax and other related products. We sell our produce through our online shop and at local shows and markets and from several retail outlets in Cornwall and Devon.
We are very proud of our bees. Honeybees are one of the many insect pollinators of our fruit crops. It seems that, along with bumblebees, the population has been in decline over the last few decades. Habitat loss, use of pesticides and climate change may all be playing their part, however I think the decline in honeybees may be due to the decline in the number of beekeepers!
Experienced beekeepers are helping new beekeepers to overcome the sometimes quite daunting problems that our charges present us with. At Kings Orchard we breed the Cornish Black Bee … the endemic bee to these islands since the last ice age and first mass importation of bees from Europe in the 1850s … and it may even be the solution to Varroa as they seem to be showing a natural resistance.
By raising our own queens locally we have not added to the number of bees imported into the UK annually and the propensity of bringing in bee viruses that are spread by the dreadful Varroa mite.