We have now started to keep its own bees in a bid to encourage our customers to plant more bee-friendly gardens. For some time we have been concerned about the decline of the bee population in the UK and in 2009 we started a campaign to save the honey bee. Some scientists estimate that as many as 40 to 50% of bees have disappeared or died since 2007 alone. The concern is that bees not only produce honey, but pollinate many of the plants and vegetation that we all consume and it is said that one in three mouthfuls of what we eat has depended on bees for pollination. Bees are so important for the pollination of crops that Einstein once calculated mankind could only survive 4 years without bees.
Our view is that gardeners are in a great position to help local bee populations. Bees depend on nectar and pollen produced by plants for food and will fly up to 2 miles to feed. We have thus been encouraging people to introduce into their gardens a range of plants attractive to bees and capable of feeding them during the key feeding months of the Spring and Summer. To help, we have set up a special grouping of some of these plants on our plant area and a full list of the more widely available plants is available elsewhere on this website.
For the past couple of years we have also enlisted the help of local beekeeping societies to provide talks and demonstrations on site to our customers on how to create a bee-friendly garden and even, for the enthusiastic, on how to keep bees. They advised that it is a very rewarding hobby and also not too time consuming. The next logical step was to try it for ourselves with our own hives and share our experience with our customers. Dunscar’s director, Shaun Lewis, has recently completed a 10 week beekeeping course and has just taken delivery of his first colony of bees. On setting up his first hive, Shaun said, “I am very grateful to the Preston Beekeepers for all the training and advice they have given us. Indeed, in honour of one of my instructors who also supplied me with my first colony, I have decided to call my Queen Bee, Laura. I can certainly recommend beekeeping to anyone with a curiosity about bees. They are fascinating creatures. More information on beekeeping can be found at www.prestonbka.org.uk.”