Bee farm thrives with the help of Sheffield canal charity

There’s a real buzz around a new South Yorkshire bee farm, which has produced over 35kg of honey in its first summer.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 8:00 am
Bee-keeper Claudiu and his family bring the sweet buzz of success from Romania to Rotherham, thanks to the Canal and River Trust. Pictured Bee-keeper Claudiu with from left Chris Gaynor, Rotherham Council Neighbourhood coordinator, Andrea Brookes centre manager Clifton Learning partnership, Cllr Wendy Cooksey and Nick Baggaley Canal and River Trust environmental Scientist Picture Gerard Binks

The Canal and River Trust, the waterways and wellbeing charity that cares for the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation, provided land for the Rotherham East Community Bee Farm to work on.

The farm has enjoyed a successful first summer, with four new colonies now well-established.

Jonathan Hart-Woods, ecologist at Canal and River Trust, said: “Our waterways are green corridors that provide a range of valuable grassy, flower-rich habitats where pollinators such as bees and butterflies can thrive.

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“Bee numbers are in decline across the UK, through loss of flowery habitats and the use of pesticides on farmland.

“Our charity is working hard create safe, bee-havens along our waterways, supporting community beehives, planting community gardens, creating bee hotels and changing how we mow and manage our verges along towpaths.”

The project is being overseen by Rotherham Council which helped experienced beekeepers Claudiu and Marianna Barbu create the bee farm.

The site was prepared by staff and volunteers at Canal and River Trust, and RMBC ward councillors Wendy Cooksey, Tajamal Khan and Deborah Fenwick-Green also supported the project by buying four hives from their devolved budget.

Claudiu Barbu placed two of his own, existing hives, on the site and from these ‘hived off’ workers to attend queens in the new ones. The workers accepted the new queens and each hive now has around 30,000 to 40,000 bees, producing over 35kg of honey.

The honey will not be harvested until next year as the beekeepers want to give the hives time to develop, and the bees need the honey to survive the winter. Next year, however, some of the honey will be used by the Clifton Learning Partnership for their community café.