A Kinross-shire honey company will position 120 new bee hives across Perthshire, to be used in conservation lessons, as the insects thrive during lockdown.
The bees will become part of Webster Honey’s beekeeping classes for schools and nurseries in which children learn about the importance to our environment of the flying insects.
The new hives, comprising more than 200 colonies, will be stationed at land in Madderty, Creff, Dunning and Strathallan Estate.
Meik Molitor, Webster Honey’s beekeeper, says it has been a logistical challenge getting all the bees and hives from across Europe to where they are currently being kept at their Beekeeping Education Centre in Scotlandwell.
He said: “120 packages of bees, which have arrived in stages over several days, is a huge undertaking to manage, involving materials and equipment from several European countries.
“The hive frames have come from Eastern Europe, the wax sheets from England, together with hive parts from Denmark.
“The bees themselves are from Italy, and I am a German beekeeper looking after them all.
“I am delighted though that they are finally here, and we will be kept busy in the coming weeks taking them to their new homes, although some will remain here at the school.”
The current pandemic suits the insects due to the decrease in pollution and increase in gardening.
Meik said: “Bees are doing well doing the lockdown – that’s one silver lining for us.
“Everyone is at home doing their gardens and planting flowers, less parks and grounds are getting cut, so it’s great for bees to forage, and the air quality is much improved due to lack of traffic.
“We have had a strong sunny start to the season which has created perfect conditions.
“Usually you get a warm spell in March, which sets everything off well, but then comes frost again and everything is confused.
“We didn’t have that this year. Everything started to bloom when the bees first came out of hibernation.”
Schools and nurseries, including Dairsie Primary in Fife, have opted to have their own hives for a year and Meik also brings an Observational Hive to classes to teach children.
He said: “Obviously, we can’t do any school or nursery engagement at the moment until the schools reopen, which is real shame.
“As soon as it is safe to do so we will be back teaching children about bees.
“They absolutely love the courses, and last term we successfully widened out the areas of Scotland we are covering, by going to schools in Glasgow and the West for the very first time.”
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