Our Plan Bee for the Environment
We all understand the importance of looking after the environment and the effect our actions can have on climate change. But it’s not just our actions that can help, Honey Bees play a big part and right now need everyone’s help to continue the vital work.
Blue Diamond have set up apiaries, a dedicated place for bee hives, at selected garden centres within our group and plan to roll out more in the coming year.
We currently have active hives in Bicester, Coton Orchard, Springfields, Harlow and Bridgemere, bringing our total hive count to 10, we encourage staff to get involved with the bees.
Over the next 12 months we will increase this to 20, adding hives at 3 Shires, Nailsworth, Fryers, Derby and Chatsworth.
Blue Diamond and Centaurea ‘Synergy’
Blue Diamond wanted to do their part in helping the environment in our Garden Centres, involving our teams and our customers. We decided that urban Beekeeping was high on our wish list and by having bee hives in our centres, we could achieve this goal. We made contact with Michael, at Centaurea who understood our wishes and was able to help fulfil our expectations. Michael’s fountain of knowledge and expertise provides us with great insight into the world of the honey bee, and how we might involve our teams, our customers and school and colleges.
During Michael’s regular visits to the hives, he encourages our willing teams to get involved in the world of the urban honey bees.
There is only one species of Honey bee in the UK, identified by it’s slim, sandy thorax and black abdomen with golden amber bands. They are active from March to September, working effectively in colonies of up to 50,000 bees, pollinating and collecting pollen and nectar from flowers and trees. Honey bees live in hives cavities filled with honeycomb, made from wax and have been domesticated for centuries.
Why Urban Honey Bees?
Bees can thrive in urban areas, often being healthier and more productive that bees in the countryside due to a higher density and varied nectar source.
Honey bees require our help as bees cannot travel for long distances without needing a resting spot with a source of nectar, such as a patch of wildflowers.
Live Bee Cam
Ever wondered what happens inside a Honey Bee hive?
Now you can see!
We have installed cameras and other monitoring equipment to help monitor the Honey Bees behaviour and occasional artificial colony division to greatly increase their chances of survival, pollinating activity and honey and wax production.
Candles and Honey
We have a range of handmade candles made from wax collected from our hives now available in many Blue Diamond Garden Centres.
The proceeds from these products, contribute to the upkeep and expansion of our Plan Bee program.
During late summer/early autumn honey and wax is collected from our hives. The wax is then filtered by placing the wax in a cheesecloth and placing it into a bowl of hot water. The melted wax flows out of the cheesecloth into the water leaving the debris in the cloth. Then, the filter is placed in a metal pitcher and heated in a pan of boiling water until the wax melts. Then the filtered wax is then poured into the silicone moulds and the wick is inserted; these are then left to cool and then removed from the mould.
Our honey comes from local flower nectar. It takes 2 million flowers and 50,000 miles for the bees to make a 454gm jar.
Honey contains sucrose, fructose and glucose in quantities which are determined by the flowers on which the bees have foraged. It also contains associated pollens which are believed to assist with easing the effects of allergies.
The honey’s taste can be affected depending on the source of the collected nectar.
Our Products - Available in all Blue Diamond Garden Centres
Here at Blue Diamond, we are committed to protecting wildlife and are spreading the word not just in our plant areas, but also at flowers shows across the UK.
At RHS Tatton, RHS Hampton and Gardeners World Live, we featured a wildlife themed show garden, showcasing plant the are great pollinators and wildlife boxes.
As well as shows and getting our employees involved, we are looking to invite schools, local to our centres, to view and learn about the bee hives, in a Bee filled day.