Bee-ing part of it at Kynance.
The National Trust and BBC Local Radio are encouraging people to ‘Bee Part of It!’ this summer through a campaign to help the honey bee. In the UK alone, the number of honey bee colonies halved between 1985-2005 due to changes in land use, the varroa mite (which sucks the bee’s blood and spreads disease), and cold wet summers. To help tackle the problem the Trust has introduced 45 new honey bee colonies at locations all around the country. Each hive has been adopted by a BBC Local Radio station.
Here in Cornwall, the hive is located at one of the most beautiful locations, famous for it's rare flowers, Kynance Cove. Not only is this the most southerly (and westerly) hive in the 'Bee Part of It!' project, but one of the few which are located outside of NT gardens or 'gated' properties.
The hive has now been in place at Kynance for just over a month, moved from Predannack where I keep a few other hives. This colony of bees was collected as a very late, and very small, swarm last August from the cliffs at Poldhu. There is an old saying which states that;
A Swarm in May is worth a bale of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,
Whilst a swarm in July isn't worth a fly!
Based on this little ditty, heaven knows what a swarm in August is worth (nothing but dust?), but this colony seems now to be doing extremely well. They were kept alive over winter before numbers slowly started to increase earlier in the spring. The bees have now filled almost 2/3 of their brood chamber and are beginning to build up reserves of honey.
You can follow the bees' progress through the summer on this blog, or regular updates will be on Radio Cornwall and BBC Spotlight. Alternatively, the Bee Part of It! project has it's own national blogsite http://nationaltrustbees.wordpress.com/ or further information about bees can be found on the NT website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beepartofit/
Photo credit: Ben Giles