It’s that time of year again. Rasping throats, bunged-up noses and streaming eyes: the hay fever season has arrived. And Silver Birch is its harbinger.
But it’s a double-edged sword: while irritating hay fever sufferers, the catkins on our local Silver Birch trees are providing the Bermondsey Street Bees with early pollen.
It is estimated that 25% of people with hay fever are affected by birch, which makes it the most common allergenic pollen, after grass pollen. Other tree species in the UK which produce allergenic pollen include Hazel, Alder, Poplar, Ash and Oak.
Silver Birch has one other redeeming feature for beekeepers, though: Silver Birch bark is the ideal starter fuel for smokers.
Its paper-thin curls peel themselves off the trunk in sheets and they can be picked like ripe fruit.
Nature’s own ready-dried tree-flakes. 100% natural and chemical free.
Highly flammable, but burning with cool, white wafts of smoke – perfect for beekeepers’ smokers.
So it’s all good news for bees and beekeepers. But for those afflicted with hay-fever, it’s a one-way street to misery. By way of reparation, we’ve given away all of the pollen we had collected for 2015’s CSI Pollen Survey to local SE1 residents.
All we have left to give now is our sympathy.