By Jasmine Wheelhouse
Photo Credit: University of St Andrews
A honey bee colony has recently been created on University grounds in a partnership between the University and the Fife Beekeeping Association (FBA). The University of St Andrews established the bee colony in the hope of stopping the decline in the bee population as part of a strategy to improve sustainability across the university.
Beekeeping is worth £200 million in Britian. They contribute to food production and help to support the environment through pollination, but in the last twenty years there has been a massive fifty per cent decrease in bees in Britain due to wet weather and other pests like the varroa mite.
According to a University official, the beekeeping initiative will help to “deliver a sustainable bee population for future generations” as well as “enable university researchers to make effective behavioural and ecological observations.”
The Fife Beekeeping Association hopes to use it as a place to train new beekeepers. William MaCrae of the FBA issued a statement saying that, “The Fife Beekeeping Association is very pleased with our joint venture with the University of St Andrews. “The University Estates department have been very helpful in setting up the apiary and we hope to establish another apiary in the heart of town before too long.”
The University Environment Officer, Barbara Aitken also commented that “introducing the honey bee to our Estate will play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity across campus, whilst also giving our academics the opportunity to carry out vital research and in the long term we may get some yummy honey.”