An opinion on City Centre Bees
I read an article recently that claimed that there were too many bee’s in London to support the amount of forage available. London is simply one worldwide capital and the UK like other countries has many provincial cities. You do not often hear about Bee’s in Birmingham, City Centre bee’s encouraged in Nottingham or Leicester. Yet I read pessimism stating that there are too many bee keepers in our capital. Without putting my neck on the line I have to disagree with the said article or research.
Not long ago Marks and Spencers were planning on rolling out a nationwide mass beehive programme. Its customers up in arms at the scale of the plan because of the sheer numbers of bee’s that would impact on existing numbers. Marks and Spencers did not pursue this project.
I run a city centre apiary whose site I keep secret unless you are attending a training programme run by me for as a security measure due to the sheer number of bee thefts that take place in the UK. Bee theft is a common crime and almost impossible to fight, unless you place mobile phone as a tracker systems in your hives as the Americans have started to do. ( The scale of commerical beekeeping far greater there than here in England )
I have learned that the maximum number of hives I can support in my location is ten, ideally eight, to ensure that catastrophic robbing between hives by bee’s does not occur.
With this in mind there is plenty of room for bee’s in our cities, not simply London. Incidentally I have expanded to Nottingham and am now working in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University’s sustainability Department to restart their roof top beekeeping project. Lets hope that this works, after colony collapse seven years ago for reasons unknown.
There is a life of bee’s outside of London and I would encourage as many city centres locations as possible encourage the positioning of hives and more environmentally friendly building with actual live hanging gardens built into modern architecture builds where ever possible.