Chiefs at an inventive British music recording studios have put a colony of bees on the roof and are now joining with other campaigns to encourage people to look after bees in urban areas.
Madness lead singer Suggs, a keen beekeeper, has teamed up with The Premises at Hackney, London. He is pictured, left, with sax player Lee Thompson and Premises managing director Julia Craik.
The UK's capital city has an alarmingly declining bee population that has halved since 2008. To help repopulate London with bees The Premises installed a hive on its roof and now, with the warmer weather and sunnier days arriving, the hive is coming out of its winter quiet and the happy animals are beginning their busy year.
Craik says: “We want to encourage people to look after these gentle but amazingly productive insects. Honey-bees are in danger due to a number of environmental factors including the increasing recent prevalence of the Varroa destructor mite.”
Suggs, who has been rehearsing with Madness at The Premises, has been interested in bees for many years and says: “As experienced urban beekeepers my wife and I know how fascinating keeping these amazing creatures can be and how important it is to look after them in managed hives like the one at The Premises. Beekeeping is a crucial part of looking after our environment so both the bees and our planet continue to thrive.”
The Premises has partnered up with a great organisation, The Golden Company, who work with local young people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with opportunities to learn sustainable business skills and take an active part in running the enterprise.
One thing anyone with outside space can do to help the bees is to plant bee-friendly flowers; these include Chamomile, Sweet William, Foxgloves, Chives, Sage, Borage, Cornflowers and Dahlias. To many people’s surprise, urban honey is often far tastier than country honey.
The Premises has planted a little garden up on the roof but the bees will fly up to three miles to collect nectar and the parks and gardens of city environments provide them with a huge variety of flowers resulting in more complex flavours in the honey.
A little known fact is that bees sometimes communicate to each other through “quacks” which are always in the high-pitched G-sharp note. Julia says the Premises hopes to record this special noise soon.