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UCLan and Tree Bee Society staff*

University joins with Tree Bee Society to install three hives at Westleigh Conference Centre

There is a buzz around the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and it is all thanks to a new bee project.

The University has installed three nucleus hives containing 150,000 to 300,000 honeybees in the grounds of Westleigh Conference Centre, in Cottam, to help improve the bee population in the Preston area.

As part of the link-up with Tree Bee Society, a local bee preservation organisation, a group of nine UCLan staff are undergoing specialist training to become beekeepers. There are also plans to sell the honey produced in local catering outlets and for students to learn to make beeswax based products, including lip balms and hand creams as part of their studies.

Michael Ahern, UCLan’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are very proud to play our part within the community and this UCLan Honeybee Project is another way of lending support to an important local initiative."

These hives will not only help increase the local bee population but they will offer so much to our students, staff and wider community.

"We’ve already trained up a group of beekeepers, we’re planning for students from a range of academic courses to get involved and we see this as a great opportunity for schoolchildren and activity groups to come along to learn about the bees and the environment.”

Once the honeybees have settled into their new environment, they will be transferred to larger hives.

The University’s £200 million Masterplan will also involve the bees. When the £57 million student centre is finished, the hives will be moved from Westleigh to the rooftop of UCLan’s new city centre building. The number of trees on the campus is also increasing from 450 to more than 700.

Abigail Reade, Director at the Tree Bee Society, said: “This is a huge step in establishing the bees at UCLan - the bees that are moving into Westleigh will eventually be the same ones moving up to the new building. While this is just temporary accommodation for now, the grounds team has worked very hard to prepare the gardens for the bees and the rest of the UCLan Beekeeping Team are very excited to take over as caretakers."

Tree Bee Society started life as a pest control organisation but it has now transformed the business into one with a conservation focus with three sites and 100 hives. The company removes bees and rehouses them at their 10 acre site.

 

*front l-r Matt Hewitt-Osborne, Clair Engl, Abi Reade and Simon Eaves; back l-r Dave Genther, Richard Allingham, Suzie Giraldi, Andy Reade and Neil Oliver.

 

Rachel Atkinson | 21 May 2018