With the Langney Marsh School Apiary Project, we are keen to include different groups and societies to maximise the reach and engagement with the bees. One element of this is to utilise the skills of the men and women who attend The Eastbourne Shed, a workshop organised by Age Concern Eastbourne. People can go along and build their own projects, or be given things to make which are then sent out to the local community or sold to raise revenue for the venture. Paul and I visited the premises to discuss the members making us a new hive and various other wooden items. We met a couple of attendees who are beekeepers and we discussed our ideas with them.
There is currently have an occupied Warré and a soon-to-be-occupied National at the Apiary site, and there is a large Kenyan top bar hive there too – unoccupied at the moment. We are interested in having a Cathedral Hive on site, so have asked Oscar and his team to look in to making this for us. We also want to encourage other bee species and invertebrates to make their home on the Marsh, so The Shed are going to make some flat pack bee and bug hotels for the school children to assemble. Bird boxes too: bumblebees often nest in them so there need to be enough for both the birds and the bees.
This is something anyone and everyone can do, irrespective of where you live: put up bird boxes and bug hotels. By providing habitat for minibeasts, we are in a small way redressing the balance that has been caused by housing, highways, and general degradation of our environment. They don’t need to be complicated or fancy, and they will be populated by something; even spiders and woodlice need places to shelter.
We also need swarm boxes, or bait hives. These are simple wooden boxes with some frames which we can use for attracting and collecting swarms, but they don’t need to be proper hives as the bees won’t be living in them permanently. Bees like a box of about a cubic foot in volume so they should be fairly easy to construct, and this will hopefully allow us to populate our apiary and provide bees for other people.
We are very grateful to The Eastbourne Shed for helping us out with the next phase of our apiary plan, and look forward to installing the various bee dwellings in the near future. Thanks too for the tea!