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Beckham, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and even the Pope hooked on Beekeeping

Even in lockdown attendance to online bee events grew 10-fold: Beekeeper Agnes Tyburn has seen great success with online honey tasting

With celebrities such as David Beckham, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and Pope Francis keeping beehives and the general public swarming to bee and beekeeping events, even during lockdown, it seems the UK is going crazy for this much-loved, but under threat insect.

Eventbrite data revealed a 10-fold increase in attendance to online bee vents since lockdown/April 2020 and TrendHunter has even placed Modern Beekeeping in its Top Trends for 2021, claiming it shows a great example of how this last year has seen the rise of the hobbyist, with consumers ‘engaging with interests that will help them unplug and unwind in the face of crisis’.

Dr Agnes Tyburn (32) discovered her love for bees when she was five years old, back on the island of Martinique where she was born and raised, and where her grandfather kept bees for more than ten years. Before lockdown, she ran beekeeping events in cafes where she would bring hives and talk to bee lovers about bee colonies and bee biology, as well as getting them to take part in honey tasting sessions, but took everything online after lockdown with much success - both her honey tasting events have been sold out and connected family and friends in the UK.

Agnes said: “When we went into lockdown everything felt uncertain. I wasn’t sure if I should bide my time and wait for lockdown to finish before I continued with the bee activities, but it dragged on, so I made the decision to move the business online. It took a few months, but I converted my content and started offering different virtual workshops before I decided to move to Eventbrite to focus on online honey tasting. My first event on 24 January sold out and was a huge success, and I have another running on Valentine’s Day.

“Surprisingly I’ve made more revenue by taking the events online, despite the fact I’m shipping out honey tasting kits around the UK, which include five types of honey, cheeses and a honey tasting guide. I’m also reaching a bigger audience and it’s great to see families, who can’t see each other in real life, meeting up on my events. The honey tasting events are connecting people and enabling them to have some fun together, even if it is virtual.

“It’s been a great experience for me too and when we come out of lockdown I’ll continue with online, as well as outdoor, events. Lockdown provided a learning curve for me and will have a lasting effect on my small beekeeping business.”

While globally, year over year attendance to bee events - both online and in person - was down 25%, attendees swarmed to UK events like bees to honey, growing their attendance in 2020 by 50% compared to 2019. Attendance peaked in July 2020 when some of the restrictions were lifted and in-person bee events temporarily returned. That month, attendance to bee events was more than four times higher than in July 2019.

And it wasn’t just beekeeping that captured our hearts. Last year in the UK, nearly 20,000 beginners and professional beekeepers enjoyed Q&As, webinars and lectures from top bee ecologists and scientists on topics such as the crisis of decline, as well as talks by gardeners on how we can attract bees into the garden and from charities on how to make money with beeswax.

There are plenty of events to choose from this year, too; in February alone Eventbrite is hosting well over a thousand virtual bee and beekeeping events streaming from the UK, and nearly 2000 more from all over the world.

Sabeha Mohamed from Eventbrite said: “This increase in attendance to bee and beekeeping events during the pandemic can be seen as a clear expression of the UK’s enduring passion for bees and a possible surge in eco-consciousness as we reassess our priorities. Online events are, of course, easier to attend making them more accessible to more people.

“We’re really proud of the fact that the platform has become a hive of activity, helping to connect bee lovers from the UK and around the world.”

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This story was published on: 12/02/2021

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