An Interview With Emma Tennant

Copy of Link Swarm!

When I saw Emma’s blog and website a few years ago, I immediately bookmarked one of her articles.  But when I stumbled upon it again with a blog and nonprofit – to say the least I was ecstatic, which is why it was a no – brainer to invite her to my website for Beegether’s first interview!  Onto Emma!

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with the bees!

Every spring I looked forward to seeing the first bumblebee pop out of a daffodil. One year I decided to find out more about the bees and I phoned my local beekeeping association – The Ealing & District Beekeepers to take the beginners course. From there I started keeping a hive at the Ealing apiary under the wonderful mentorship of Ealing beekeepers, and then, around eight years ago, I began sharing a hive with Emily Scott, my hive partner. We have shared many adventures with the bees ever since.

How did you become a blogger?
I began blogging when I became an aromatherapist to share hints and tips, recipes and blends. Later I added my stories about the bees and found these tales complemented each other.
What type(s) of bees do you keep?  What wildlife do you see visit your garden?
At Ealing apiary I kept honeybees and in my garden I have nests for mason and leafcutter bees. Carder bees and other bumble bees are frequent visitors. Our garden is great for attractive wildlife, although we are trying to make it more wildlife friendly. The birdfeeders attract sparrows, blue tits, robins, blackbirds, starlings, parakeets, wagtails, crows, jackdors, woodpeckers, and even the odd kite and sparrowhawk, and squirrels. The heron occasionally stops by our goldfish pond but the cage stops him from taking any fish – or frogs. We also have numerous slugs, spiders and wasps – most of which I can’t identify – and, of course, being London, foxes, rats and mice cross the garden path.
emma s tennat
Some of Emma’s bees / Photo by Emma Tennant
I know from your site you have a lovely bee garden, how do you use it to support your beekeeping and your bees?
 Wouldn’t it be lovely if all gardens in cities, towns and villages grew bee-friendly flowers, if all streets had lavender hedges, if all parks had wildflowers, and if all cityscapes had roof gardens and window boxes. Maybe we could banish these concrete pollinator deserts. Of course, gardening is a very time-consuming activity and I can understand how working people may struggle to find the time to make their homes more wildlife-friendly. I hope that our bee garden will inspire others to plant easy-care shrubs and hardy herbs that don’t need much attention but provide plenty of year-round forage for hungry insects.
workers building comb_EM
Photo by Emma Tennant
Have you ever incorporated aromatherapy within your beekeeping?  If so, how?  If not, what are your favourite scents, and how do you use them to your benefit?
Essential oils are very powerful chemical substances and I don’t feels that I could ever possibly dilute them with any accuracy in my kitchen to make the blends safe to give to bees. However, Emily and I put dried lavender or pine cones in our smoker to calm the bees. And I sometimes infused fresh lavender in the bees’ syrup at times of the year when the hives needed to be fed.
Aromatherapy opens you up to a fabulous world of scent, something aromatherapists share with the bees. My favourite essential oil is myrtle (Myrtus communis) which I based my plant study for my aromatherapy diploma. I use myrtle oil in skin creams, baths and simply to burn to delight in its beautiful fragrance. I named one of our queen bees Myrtle and she was the best queen that we ever had.
Any insights about beekeeping or aromatherapy you’d like to add, Emma?
Honeybees in the UK are not in decline but many other bee species and other wild pollinators are struggling. The best thing that anyone can do for bees is to make space in their garden for wildlife-friendly plants or to join a community planting scheme. If we can all learn to share our home and work spaces with nature in some small way then this would make all the difference.
queen and workers_EM
Queen and Workers / Photo by Emma Tennant
Thank you so much Emma for coming aboard and doing your part for our mission!  Any questions can be left in the comments!

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