The Holy Bees of St John’s with St Mary’s, Isleworth

My name is Jonathan Palmer (JP) and I have cut the church lawn for over 18 years in St Johns and recently also at St Marys church grounds. Well if two years ago someone said I would be a beekeeper I would have said they were mad! However, I surprisingly found myself agreeing to receive a beehive belonging to my friend James and needed help! I quickly enrolled on a beekeeping course at the Beekeeping Association in Twickenham and had the assurance from my friend James that he would help me. 

For two months last winter, I attended a two-hour course on bees every Wednesday evening. It was brilliant, informative, and the experienced members of the association were great, fun, knowledgeable and completely passionate about beekeeping. I walked out the end of the course wondering what I had let myself in for. The Twickenham Beekeepers Association and James were a massive help as there is a lot involved in keeping a beehive. I had to buy a suit and a smoker, which keeps the bees calm when you inspect them. We needed the bees themselves of course. A beehive needs a queen bee, drone male bees and the worker female bees (who do all the work!).

Our bees arrived on the day of the summer fair 2019. The good news is the bees have taken very well to their new home in Isleworth and are very gentle. Despite many things that can endanger bees, the good news is “so far so good” for our bees.

Why do bees need our help? Without bees and other pollinating insects there would be no life on earth. Their numbers are threatened by bacteria, nasty insects and pesticides. Honeybees generally do not survive unless they are in a beehive and are cared for by a beekeeper (and we need more beekeepers!) 

Some ideas for how to help. Become informed by finding out about bees, (I have lots of books and there are lots of videos online.) You could buy a bee hotel. Also, planting bee-friendly plants and trees is crucial. Why not join the Twickenham Beekeeping Association and do a beginners course?

Jonathan Palmer 
For more information, you can contact JP via email (