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Friday 8 October 2021

New home for high-flying honeybees

University’s new £60m Student Centre roof garden buzzing with new inhabitants

The new UCLan Student Centre is a hive of activity for students but it’s also a home to a different kind of hive.

 The roof garden of the £60million centre is now home to a colony of honeybees.

 Around 100,000 bees have moved into new hives which have been set in an area away from the main student space on the new rooftop garden.

 The bees have been relocated from UCLan’s Westleigh House in Cottam where they have been multiplying for the last three years, having grown from three to seven hives with a population of 300,000 bees during peak season.

 And even in autumn there is still plenty of pollen and nectar for the bees to gather thanks to the many green spaces which have been created around the new Student Centre and the University Square.

 Dave Genther, UCLan’s Head Groundsman, said: “We’ve split our bees up and carefully moved them to form these new colonies which are now settling into their new panoramic rooftop location. We’ve housed them in a dedicated space a safe distance from the public area and we think they’ll be as happy with their new home, as we are.

 “Our bees will forage up to three miles from the hive but our extensive planting schemes on campus will be an attractive proposition to them and the many other pollinators and that inhabit the local area.”

"Our bees will forage up to three miles from the hive but our extensive planting schemes on campus will be an attractive proposition to them and the many other pollinators and that inhabit the local area"

Dave Genther, UCLan’s Head Groundsman

UCLan’s Ruth Connor, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, added: “As you can imagine, the whole site has been a hive of activity during the last few weeks and months with thousands of new plants, shrubs and trees being added across campus.

 “Greenspaces are closely linked to mental health and wellbeing benefits and the extensive planting on the Student Centre rooftop garden is just another example of our commitment in this area with everything from a wildflower meadow to trees included in the design.

 “Our new bee colonies will certainly be spoilt for choice when it comes to gathering nectar and pollen and hopefully they’ll make enough honey for us to sell in our Student Centre now it has officially opened.”

 Beekeeping training for the UCLan grounds team has been provided by the Tree Bee Society who have awarded certificates to a number of the UCLan staff involved at beginner and intermediate levels.