In 2007, Balloch Wood Community Project first proposed the idea of putting together a Honey Bee project. The idea behind such a project was that it would complement the ethos and work of the Balloch Wood Community Project: management of the woodland in order to preserve the natural resources and increase biodiversity. Creetown Initiative worked with Balloch Wood Community Project to develop the Bee Conservation Project and this project has now been handed back to the dedicated volunteers of Balloch Wood, who manage the bee colonies.
The project has the following aims:
- encourage people to have an interest in beekeeping and become involved in the project
- honey bee conservation and management
- form education links with schools and youth groups
- produce our own honey and wax, with the proceeds going towards funding the project long-term
- bring the community together over a shared interest in honey bees and beekeeping
Balloch Wood is approximately 60 hectares in size and contains over 88 species of flowering plants, perfect for foraging honey bees. We have three colonies, each housed in their own hive and were sourced locally in Dumfries and Galloway. The hives are made from British grown cedar, which offers a significantly cheaper alternative and avoids the substantial environmental impact of shipping American timber to the UK.
The hives consist of a base, two brood boxes, supers and a roof. Supers are added as and when the colony needs the space to expand. Initially, until the colonies were established and settled at the apiary site, all three colonies were fed a sugar syrup, a balanced liquid feed. Each of the brood boxes and supers contain ten frames and it is on these frames that the bees build their comb to store nectar, pollen, honey and rear brood. The colonies continue to thrive and are checked weekly.
The project helps the European honey bee by alleviating the decline of British populations.