University apiary creates a buzz
Local bees now have a new home in Loughborough thanks to a project that has seen an apiary developed on the University campus.
University staff have teamed up with local beekeepers Barry Jacobson and Paul Williams to develop the site in response to the national decline in numbers of honey bees.
The group, which has also sought advice and training from the Leicestershire and Rutland Beekeepers’ Association (LRBKA) and Friends of the Bees, prepared a secluded site for the apiary and made a range of traditional and natural hives from spare wood found on the campus.
Loughborough University provides a perfect base for bees with its wide variety of pollen and nectar-rich trees and bee-friendly shrubs, a designated ‘fruit route’, two ancient woodlands and some species-rich marshland.
Apiary coordinator Patrick Whelband said:
“We’re fortunate here at Loughborough to have a large, lush, green campus which is already in parts a haven for wildlife. Given the ongoing bee crisis and another abysmal year for beekeeping, we really wanted to do something constructive.
“Hopefully our bees will settle down in their new home and have a field day working the wide range of suitable forage. First and foremost, our aim is to keep them healthy.”
The country’s honey bee population has suffered an alarming decline in recent years with 50 per cent less bees than in the 1980s. Bumble bees are undergoing a slower decline, but out of 27 native species, three are already extinct and another eight are extremely rare.
As the apiary expands, the University intends to look into the possibility of supplying its own honey on campus through Campus Living outlets and providing an educational resource for Loughborough students and the wider community.
The project has been supported through the University’s catering and accommodation provider Campus Living.