Rooftop bees produce first pots of honey
Exeter shoppers may have raised an eyebrow when store bosses in Princesshay announced they planned to house a swarm of bees on the roof. But the fruits of their labour have now paid off.
Following the launch of the city garden and the housing of three bee hives on the roof tops of the Princesshay shopping centre in April, the busy bees have produced their first pots of honey.
The nucleus hive, also known as a beginner’s hive, does not usually produce honey during its first year.
However, the Princesshay bees have produced three pounds of honey in just four months, which has equated to three jars of delicious, dark runny honey.
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The expertly chosen bee friendly flora and fauna combined with an amazing summer and attentive care has boosted the production of honey and encouraged the bees to do what they do best, resulting in an unexpected delivery of honey.
Beekeeping enthusiast Jason Wallis from WeeTree Nurseries, helped train the Princesshay staff to look after the bees. He said: “I’m really pleased to see the bees have produced honey in the first season. The colony is certainly a happy one to have produced this amount in a short time. The honey is dark in colour, and has floral tones to its taste; this is because of different flowers in the roof top garden. Hints of lavender definitely shine through – it really is delicious.”
The three hives currently house 10,000 honey bees each, but with winter fast approaching the bees will begin to cluster around the queen bee to keep her warm rather than collecting pollen and nectar for the production of honey. They will leave the hive on warmer days for cleansing flights only and will return to their working schedules in the spring of next year.
Andy Littlejohns, Princesshay’s operation manager, said: “It’s been truly fantastic to see my initial idea finally a reality. To actually be producing honey four months in is fantastic.”