Hope sites buzzing with activity
Company enhances biodiversity with introduction of 100,000 bees at Hope Works and Dowlow Quarry
ONE hundred thousand honey bees have been introduced at two Derbyshire quarries and biodiversity in the surrounding areas has been improved, to support the nationwide campaign to grow Britain’s bee population.
Hope Construction Materials have introduced the bees across their two largest operations – Hope Cement Works and Dowlow Quarry.
In both locations, the three-mile radius that surrounds the quarry where the hives have been placed contains a sustainable nectar supply, predominantly from wild cherry plants, buttercups and daisies, making it the perfect environment for the honey bees.
The environment around the quarries and the substantial access to food and water makes both locations perfect for the hives to thrive.
Hope’s bee installation is the latest in a number of tangible steps by the company to improve biodiversity and enhance the sustainability of the quarries.
Alongside the installation of the honey bee hives, Hope are working towards the development of the surrounding environments to support bumblebees, whose populations have suffered a decline in recent years.
Both of Hope’s quarries are surrounded by a variety of wildflowers including bird’s foot trefoil, red clover and marsh orchids.
Next year the company is hoping to produce up to 40 pounds of ‘Hope Honey’ per hive for employees, local residents and businesses.
The bees are being cared for directly by Hope employees Alan Porter and Tom Herrick, both of whom are fully trained beekeepers. They visit the hives several times a week to check the colonies are healthy and top-up their feed of sugar and water, to help them mature for their first few months on site.
Mr Porter (pictured), assistant quarry manager at Hope Works, said: ‘We are extremely excited to finally have the bee colonies on site at both Hope Works and Dowlow; and all 100,000 of them seem to be settling in well.’
Mr Herrick, also an assistant quarry manager with Hope Construction Materials, added: ‘The pollen from our Italian honey bees in the hives here at Dowlow is dark orange and red, thanks to the surrounding cherry blossom. I would expect Dowlow’s honey to be a copper colour, but we will have to wait and see when we get our first honey crop later in the year.’
Gill Perkins, conservation manager at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), said: ‘The BBCT promotes the development of bee-friendly environments by creating biodiverse spaces around both restored and active quarry sites, which could help play a vital role in their long-term survival.
‘With the biodiversity of plants available to them, both of Hope Construction Materials’ quarries provide a great environment for bees, and the passion of the employees is terrific. We are grateful for their support and would like to encourage any other organizations in a position to care for bees to do so.’