Bee scheme creates a buzz

FARMERS and landowners visiting the Royal Welsh Winter Fair had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of a new scheme to increase the number of beehives in Wales. The Cywain Bee project has been set up to boost honey production in Wales by encouraging farmers and landowners to place beehives on their land. Welsh honey is much in demand and, according to Cywain Bee, increasing the number of beehives could not only help the honey industry but possibly lead to farmers and landowners achieving additional support through environmental management schemes. Cywain Bee development manager Haf Wyn Hughes said: “We are working with farmers, landowners and beekeepers across Wales to increase production by identifying and improving foraging (feeding) sites for bees, as well as providing a mentoring service for honey producers to add value and access new markets.” Cywain Bee promoted the scheme on the FUW stand at the Winter Fair and launched a booklet “Bees as Friends to Farmers” which gives advice and tips on where to site beehives and maintaining the right habitat for bees to thrive. The bilingual booklet, developed with input from the FUW and Pollinator Taskforce in Wales, includes topics ranging from where best to site beehives, encouraging nesting wild bee species, planting for bees, hedge management, spraying and pesticides to various facts about bees. Cywain Bee is also drawing attention to a wider audience an additional problem facing beekeepers – finding suitable sites for the growing number of hives. The Welsh Beekeepers’ Association has created a widget on its website www.wbka.com called Hive Locator that is aimed at linking members of the public or organisations with a spare plot of land with a local beekeeper looking for a new site.

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