Bees are Good…

Sunday Herald 19.09.21:  AT first thought, the roof of a shopping centre may not seem like an ideal abode.

But thousands of new residents set to move into their new homes on the roof of Motherwell Shopping Centre would beg to differ, although to be fair, the residents in question are in fact thousands of endangered honey bees.

Beehives are to be sited on the Lanakshire base by Webster Honey, one of Scotland’s leading sustainable honey businesses, which works with firms of all sizes toward its ultimate goal – “saving the bees”.

The hives will soon be buzzing with thousands of the insects, nature’s best pollinators who are running out of food as the modern world sees their formerly flower-rich habitats decline, with gardens paved over, new roads and houses built on open land and their environment decimated in the process.

The management of the busy centre, which is home to a mix of 90 retailers, as well as offices, hope that having hives will prove an additional attraction to customers in the form of the huge environmental benefits having hives bring.

This will be in addition to educational opportunities with local schools, who will get an opportunity to come in and see the hives and learn about the lifecycle of bees.

And next year, there will, of course, be honey from the hives which the shopping centre will get the opportunity to buy.

Honeybees fly for up to three miles to pollinate trees, plants and flowers, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. This means that bees from these hives could well be seen in gardens, woods, and country parks right across the area.

Daniel Webster, managing director of Webster Honey said: “We’ve very excited to connect with another shopping centre, having already placed hives in East Kilbride Centre and Cameron Toll in Edinburgh. We also have hives on the roof of Locke Hotel in Edinburgh, as bees do very well in urban locations.

“Bees fly over huge distances, connecting with plants and flowers, so it needn’t be a rural environment that hosts them – the important thing is to sponsor a hive and increase our bee population as much as possible.

“We’ve had a bumper honey season this year and are delighted to be connecting with more businesses ready for next year. Meik, our beekeeper, comes in on a regular basis to check on all our hives in various locations across Scotland, and keeps everyone appraised on how they are doing.”

Geraldine ElMasrour, the centre manager, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Webster Honey, It’s so exciting to now have hives up on the roof.

“As they are located high up, shoppers won’t see them as they will be out foraging and pollinating during the day. But we hope to perhaps host some events within the centre with Webster Honey where visitors – and local schoolchildren – can find out more about bees and why they are so important for the environment.”

The development comes amid the BBC’s Big. Bee challenge, a three-year campaign to encourage Radio 2 listeners to do what they can, in the space around them, to help create a better environment for bees.

A new seven-part reality series, Show Me the Honey! is being launched by the BBC, with novice beekeeping families competiting against each other to create the best hive and tastiest honey, with the winner taking home the beekeeper of the year trophy. It will air on CBBC on September 30.