A group of residents had expressed interest in the community council about making the village a bee-friendly village. The local newsletter sought people’s views and identified that the majority of people were interested in making the village bee-friendly. People also expressed an interest in helping with practical improvements, and some who were keen to help manage and support a community beehive which one resident was willing to accommodate on their land at the edge of the village.
A grant of £1,517 from the Ventient Energy Glenkerie Community Fund, allowed the group to purchase and plant 500 wildflower plug plants in three different areas of the village, to supplement the wildflower and bee-friendly plants donated by villagers which were distributed and planted in other villager’s gardens. The group produced a bee-friendly plant list so everyone knew what the best flowers to plant.
The group then purchased some bees and beekeeping equipment and organised supervised hive visits, weather permitting.
To begin with, only a small number of villagers signed up for hive visits but after the first few visits word spread about how fascinating it was and that no one had been stung and those who had been a little apprehensive signed up too.
Several people from nearby villages heard about the project and visited the bees. The group also arranged visits to the hive from a distance for those not wanting to get too close but so they could see the bees going in and out of the hive.
The group provided regular updates about the bees on posters and emails newsletters. And despite some challenges with the Scottish weather they group managed to harvest honey later in the year – selling out immediately!
The wildflower areas continue to flourish and the bees and all other pollinators have benefited from the planting of pollen and nectar-rich plants.
The group has created a long term bee-friendly village with planting which will increase due to education and increasing enthusiasm. The production of honey has provided some additional income which will help make the project self-sustaining.