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Reydon’s buzzing! Honey bees find new home at Adnams

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Abby, Steve and Terry with the two hives of honey bees at Adnams Distribution CentreBee-rilliant news! Adnams eco-friendly Distribution Centre is now home to two hives of honey bees. The hand-made hives and two thriving colonies of bees were brought to the Reydon Distribution Centre site by Pakefield beekeeper, Steve Barrett. Steve has long been a fan of Adnams and the company’s environmental and sustainable practices and has identified Reydon as a safe and healthy home for honey bees. The Adnams Distribution Centre is situated in the site of a former gravel pit where the hives have been positioned in a sheltered, south-facing area. At this time of year, the bees will be collecting nectar from flowers as well as blossoming hedges and trees – blackthorn is a local favourite - but their diet will change throughout the year as new sources of food become available.

Bees are in trouble

Honey bees arrive at AdnamsBees worldwide are under threat. Decades of indiscriminate pesticide use, farming and land-use practices destroying bee’s habitat and food sources, and today’s virulent diseases and pests are wiping out colonies of honey bees, as well as many other species of bee globally. Without bees, many crops would fail to be pollinated. It’s quite simple: no bees = no food = ecological and economical turmoil.

Helping to make a difference

Steve Barrett, BeekeeperSteve’s approach to bee-keeping is not exploitative. He’s very proud of his hand-made hives and approach to beekeeping, which is really about looking after the bees. He will make weekly inspections of the hives to ensure the colony is fit and healthy and free of signs of disease. “Today, there’s very few places for a natural honey bee colony to find a home. I recently rescued a colony from a roof that was about to be replaced. By looking after the bees I can make sure they stay healthy, treat them for disease and give them supplementary food if they are struggling, too”. Altogether, there are around 60,000 honey bees now buzzing around the Distribution Centre.

Wildflowers at Reydon

Steve moves the bees into their new hiveAs the Adnams Distribution Centre is situated in an old gravel pit, the soil is very thin where it exists at all, and is low in fertility. This, however, means it’s the perfect habitat for plants adapted to sandy heaths; Vipers bugloss, bee orchids, birds-foot trefoil and ox-eye daisies already grow well here. The bees, however, are likely to travel between 2.5 and 3km in search of food which puts them in reach of the gardens and hedgerows of Reydon, Southwold and Wangford.

Adnams honey

If the bees have a healthy and successful summer, we may have some Adnams honey – watch this space! View pictures of Steve and the honey bees on Flickr. If you’ve got any questions about honey bees, Steve will be happy to answer them for you on twitter: @shedstoker.  

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Sarah Groves

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