Lakes and Dales Co-operative has helped create a new buzz in Penrith, after donating two bee hives and funding for a colony of bees to the Penrith Beekeepers Association.
The Association celebrated the opening of its branch apiary on Saturday 10th May. The Penrith Beekeepers’ apiary will be used to train beginners and more established beekeepers on how to spot diseases and manage infestations.
Bees are in danger of extinction because they are being weakened by insecticides and the increasing menace of varroa mites and other viruses. Bees are vital for our food supply because they pollinate the crops. One in every three mouthfuls of food that we eat is dependent on the pollination by bees.
Katie Kipling, Membership and Community Officer for Lakes and Dales Co-operative said: “We’re so pleased to that we could fund the first colony of bees and two hives for the Penrith Beekeepers Association. The fragile future of bees is an important issue to the whole country, and we are delighted to have been able to help in this way.”
Nationally, queen bees are in short supply and the bees that are ‘imported’ to Cumbria are not always suited to the northern climate. Penrith Beekeepers will use its colonies of bees at Acorn Bank to rear strong, healthy queen bees that will withstand our damp, cool conditions and supply them to local beekeepers. This will gradually strengthen the stocks of bees across Cumbria.
The project has been developed in collaboration with the National Trust at Acorn Bank, who have provided the space for the apiary in their orchard. The National Trust are delighted to have the bees there as they will help to pollinate the apples and the other fruit trees and plants on the estate.
Penrith Beekeepers Association will be running two courses for beginner beekeepers at Acorn Bank in July.