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Hive of honey-making activity at Ashford International Hotel

By Tim Collins
Bee keeper Pat Hillman tends to his swarm

Bee keeper Pat Hillman tends to his swarm

There is a real buzz about town now the Ashford International Hotel is keeping bees on its roof.
 
It is hoped the honey the new guests produce could soon find its way onto the hotel’s breakfast tables or be bottled and sold to help charity in the reception area of the Simone Weil Avenue venue.
 
Two hives with 20,000 bees each were settled into their new home last Wednesday.
 
Marc Taylor, the hotel’s operations manager, said: “When we had a local beekeeper remove a swarm of bees in our courtyard, he told us about how we could keep bees on the roof.
“We are trying to be as green as possible and thought it would be a lovely idea to keep bees.
 
“We are also passionate about serving local produce in our restaurant, and you can’t get more local than honey from the roof.
 
“In the future we also hope to sell the honey in jars in reception, and give the proceeds to our nominated charity, Demelza House.”
 
How the QHotels honey might look...

How the QHotels honey might look...

Flat roofs are perfect places to keep bees as they are up high and are undisturbed.
 
Rooftop hives are becoming more and more popular, with several large hotels in London now housing hives to produce their own honey.
 
The beekeeper, Pat Hillman, who owns Ark Birds and Bees in Charing, said: “We’re hoping the bees will settle in well up there. Our one worry is whether they will find enough plants to pollinate, with them being in a more urban space.
 
“In the summer, weather permitting, they may even populate as many as 50,000 bees in each hive.”
 
The bee population in the UK has been declining rapidly for years.
 
Last year’s wet summer, followed by a long and harsh winter, has prevented many flowers from blooming, leaving bees with less to feed off – placing the bee population further under threat.
 
Honey bees have also suffered from so-called colony collapse disorder – a phenomenon in
which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear.
 
There have also been major concerns that increasing use of pesticides and other diseases have led to serious declines in the honey bee population.
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