Describe your project
The honey bee is experiencing unprecedented threats to its existence. During the last few years, unseasonal weather patterns , the varroa mite, the spread of other deadly viruses and the use of insecticides have all substantially reduced our bee stocks at both local and national levels. Penrith and District Beekeepers Association (PBKA) continues to try to counteract this trend by rearing healthy colonies of bees and training beekeepers at its Association Training Apiary. Unfortunately due to extensive use, the Training Apiary is not a suitable site for rearing Queen Bees. This process needs to allow the bees to develop without being disturbed apart , from the manipulations undertaken by the apiary managers to encourage the bees to raise queens from healthy bee stock and of appropriate genetic strains to withstand the damp, cold Cumbrian conditions. PBKA has recently been invited to establish a queen rearing apiary at Dalemain House.
How will your project benefit your local community?
The Queen Rearing process will help to develop the skills of Cumbrian beekeepers who will then be able to train others to follow these procedures with their own bees. The healthy, strong queen bees and the bee colonies that are subsequently produced will be supplied to local farmers and gardening enthusiasts in the local community for pollinating crops and other plants. Local honey which will also be available from these colonies is always in high demand because of its medicinal properties in reducing allergic reactions to locally produced pollen. Due to the decline of bee stocks and the increasingly variable seasonal conditions in the Cumbrian weather, there have been shortages in the supply of locally produced honey in recent years. This project will help to maintain healthy bee stocks and the supply of pollinators and honey to the local community.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
PBKA has an active 'out reach' education programme which involves a cross section of community groups interested in learning more about bees and pollinators. This project, therefore, has the support of community groups such as the local Women's Institutes and Gardening groups; Newton Rigg College which specialises in land-based studies including agricultural and horticultural management; primary and secondary schools where projects address several aspects of the science curriculum and provide curriculum enrichment opportunities; young farmers' groups; members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) .
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
Estimated: 80 beekeepers (PBKA current membership) + 200 young people in full time education + 200 members of 'special interest' groups + 250 in the wider community benefitting from the production of honey and pollinators of crops and flowers. = 730.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
The site needs to be levelled and fenced in order to protect the bee hives from the nearby deer and other animal predators. Hives need to stand on well drained flat surfaces. Timber £232 Wire mesh £36 Gravel £132 Paving slabs £50 Lockable storage facilities for beekeeping equipment designated for use at the apiary to avoid cross colony contamination. Storage chest & internal plastic boxes £100 To avoid cross colony contamination : new beehives + bee suits for beekeepers directly involved with the project on the site. 4 beehives @ £250 each = £1,000 3 full bee suits @ £150 each = £450 TOTAL £2,000
When and why was your project founded?
The Queen Rearing project is commencing in summer 2019 in order to raise healthy, appropriate strains of bees to withstand the wet, cold conditions in Cumbria and off set the decline in bee stocks.