Bees are very much under threat from many different sources. They provide a huge amount of pollination of crops, fruit and flowers, in fact 80% of the fruit in your fruit bowl will have come about because of the work of bees. It was with these things in mind that we wanted to add some bees into the orchard and they would help pollinate not just the fruit trees, but the surrounding allotments and fields of local farms (for up to 5km around).
Having consulted with local bee keepers, Mansfield District Council and local allotment holders, we began raising money through donations from a variety of sources¹. We took advice in how to protect the public from bee lines and designed and built an enclosure to ensure both public and bees were kept safe. We were pleased to use our local beekeeping suppliers, Ropers, to source two WBC hives, which, given the exposed nature of the site, would provide an insulated home for our buzzy friends.
A selection of bee products which can be eaten, drunk, worn or used to provide light
We held a bee evening at St Barnabas’ Church where people could sample the various products of bees, such as various honeys, honey bread, honey beer and make beeswax candles and lip balms. During the event, we were able to watch a DVD on beekeeping and start to assemble the beehives, ready for their imminent installation.
Local volunteers worked with some members of Hucknall Round Table to create an enclosure, and put a viewing window in so anyone could safely see what the bees were up to.
Finally the bee nucs arrived and we were able to install the hives with their colonies.
As part of the ongoing work of the orchard, we are going to create a beekeeping group at some point in the near future. Watch this space!
¹ Sponsors of this project include: Local and county councillors, Hucknall Round Table, Mansfield Freemasons and Mansfield Woodhouse Partnershop. We are grateful to all who joined in with the vision of bringing bees to the orchard.