Thrings Eats…at Becky’s Beezzzs

Thrings eats Beckys bees

In this series about the region’s food producers and farmers, Harriet Burt from Thrings talks to a mum who turned a hobby into a buzzing business

Becky Chadd didn’t like honey – or so she thought. Then she took up a hobby, and her whole life changed.

“I was always interested in insects from a young age, and with one of my kids at school and the other at pre-school, I had some time on my hands,” she says at her home in Andover, which doubles as the headquarters of Becky’s Beezzzs.

“Beekeeping just came up, so I joined Andover Beekeeping Association where one of the guys ‘took me under his wing’. He had 30 colonies, and with that number it’s amazing what you see. I learned as much in that first year as you would over five or six years just doing two colonies in the garden.”

Soon, Becky had hives of her own.  “The problem was, I had all this honey and didn’t know what to do with it!” she remembers. “I thought I didn’t like it because I’d only ever tried supermarket honey, which is heat treated, but this was so different, and I decided to jar it up and sell it to the local village shops. Very soon they called back and asked if I had any more.”

Since then, to use the obvious phrase, Becky has been a busy bee. Selling honey is now only one part of her business – her core income is from supplying starter bee colonies and mated queens to farmers and hobbyists, and from partnerships with farms.

She has more than 1,000 colonies – each housing 40,000 bees – on sites around Hampshire. It’s a win-win – the bees pollinate crops, and the flavours of honey they produce depend upon what they feast upon. A delicate, runny lavender honey and a soft set variety made by bees fed on rapeseed oil are among the best sellers.

Becky is known as an expert in the world of beekeeping, shares her knowledge with courses for hobbyists and farmers, and is endlessly fascinated by bee behaviour.

“Bees are a superorganism – they work as one,” she explains. “What we must understand is that honeybees don’t do things by the book – they are wild, and although we are trying to encourage them to do what we want them to do, they will do whatever they want. Their behaviour is forever changing – they are constantly evolving.”

Ultimately the proof is in the product – and Becky now eats honey every day, even spooning a little into her cups of tea. “A lot of people still don’t really understand what real honey is,” she says. “Just like me – unless you try it, you’ll never know!”.


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