A WELSH bee farmer said it was the joy of seeing how her parents gained satisfaction from working on hives that led her to becoming an apprentice.

Ros Ellis works at Border Honey in Eglwys Cross, near Whitchurch, and was speaking about her experiences ahead of World Bee Day on Monday, May 20.

Though she was ‘outdoorsy’, the 23-year-old said she became interested when she saw how her parents Alex and Nicky enjoyed working together.


She said: “Growing up, I never thought bee farming was something I would do – I love being outside, and I went to work at a clay pigeon shooting school.

“But I saw mum and dad producing honey together and how much they enjoy it, and I thought I’d like to be a part of that.

“There are so many things to learn, and every day is different.”

With a trip to New Zealand on the cars, she added: “I love the queen-rearing side of things in particular and I’d love to help build that up and see how far we can go in the future.”

For Alex, beekeeping started as a hobby – one Ros admits she paid little interest to – but after 10 years, it transitioned into a new career, enabling him to grow the business alongside a role with the Bee Farmers’ Association.

A move in 2016 provided the family’s enterprise – Border Honey – with much needed space to grow, and this year Welsh Government funding has helped them buy new equipment for their expanding honey processing facility.

He said: “We are very much a B2B operation, and there are two sides to our business as in addition to being a bulk honey supplier we have a specialist queen-rearing operation and produce queens for some of the biggest bee farms in the UK.”

“Encouraging and investing in young people, who come with energy and ideas, brings a new dynamic to a business which has elevated our ambitions and accelerated growth.”

“Sustainability is important to us. We are accredited real living wage employers, and through Cluster conversations, we are also looking at pursuing BCorp certification.”

Welsh honey is in demand, and according to the National Bee Unit’s BeeBase there were almost 4,000 beekeeper registrations from Wales in 2022.

In 2023, the Bee Farmers’ Association recorded some 51 registrations from Wales.

Get in touch

Share your views on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch email news@whitchurchherald.co.uk, or fill in the form on this section of our website.

The Honey Cluster is dedicated to raising the profile and production of Welsh honey and bringing together bee farmers with a business vision and an ambition to grow.

“This is precisely what Border Honey is doing in Wales by their forward-looking and ambitious approach,” said Honey Cluster lead Haf Wyn Hughes.

“By offering apprenticeships, they are nurturing the next generation of bee farmers – vital to the Welsh honey sector and protecting the honeybee environment.”