Tuesday, 15 June 2010
A swarm of honeybees has taken up residence in one of the University of Worcester’s two new beehives.
The bees have been introduced to the University as part of the national Bee Part of It! campaign, which is a partnership between the University, the BBC and the National Trust. It aims to investigate the plight of honeybees in Britain.
The two new hives and their tenants will be cared for by science technician Steve Southwick, helped by expert advice and guidance from members of the Worcester branch of the Worcestershire Bee Keepers Association.
Professor John Newbury, who is Head of the Institute of Science and the Environment and is leading the Bee Part Of It! campaign on behalf of the University, said: “As part of the project the University’s National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) will be taking samples of pollen, dead bees and honey from the hives on National Trust properties across the season for analysis.
“But we thought it would also be appropriate for us to have our own bees here at the University so that we could monitor and use as part of the research.”
The Unit hopes the research will provide some more clues about the causes of colony decline.
Professor Newbury said: “As well as giving the public an insight into the secret life of bees and their huge importance to agriculture, the project offers the opportunity to carry out some scientific research in collaboration with bee keepers. We will be interacting with other scientists and passing on the information that we gather over the summer.”
The decline of honeybee colonies has been widely reported, and most of the UK’s 250 bee species appear to be in decline, which has serious consequences for crop pollination.
The campaign, supported by BBC Springwatch presenter Kate Humble, was launched last month and will see every BBC Local Radio station adopt its own honeybee hive, based at a National Trust property.