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The Wonder of Bees with Martha Kearney – 8pm tonight BBC4

Series which follows Martha Kearney’s bee-keeping year and explores the science, art and culture of the honeybee, the most ingenious insect known to humankind.

Martha Kearney’s year gets off to a bad start when unseasonal snow in spring threatens to kill the bee colonies she keeps in her garden in Suffolk. With help from a master beekeeper Martha feeds her bees and takes one of the hives to a wildflower meadow at a neighbour’s house along with two brand new hives.

She discovers the intricate hierarchy within the bee colony and learns how the organisation of the hive has become a metaphor for human society. At a London school she learns the secrets of urban bees’ success even while bees in the country as a whole are in decline. The episode ends with three new hives established on a wildflower meadow, ready to start producing classic British wildflower honey.

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