Wrecked beehives given a buzz again after grant towards wildflower garden

Wrecked beehives given a buzz again after grant towards wildflower garden

vandals beehives


A COMMUNITY beehive project which was wrecked by vandals has received a £1,386 grant towards the cost of planting bee-enticing wild flowers.

Avondale Community Beekeepers has been awarded the cash from the Banks Community Fund to set up a wildflower garden near its 20 active hives dotted around the Stonehouse and Strathaven areas in Lanarkshire.

The National reported in May how their beehives, each containing about 3,000 bees, were destroyed by vandals within hours of the project being launched near an old railway line.

The hives were rebuilt and hidden in secret locations.

Dad-of-five and grandfather David Paterson, 56, from Strathaven, came up with the idea of having one of the beehives in his garden, which has led to other people wanting to get involved.

After receiving initial funding from the National Lottery the group is now 30-strong, with local schools now also taking an active part.

Paterson said: “The beehives have become a real talking point in the local area and a great example of what is possible when a community comes together for a worthy and holistic cause.

“Following great support from local schools, we now have 10 schoolchildren from age four upwards helping to manage the hives and the project has proven to be highly educational and rewarding for those involved.

“Wildflowers are in seriously high demand among the beekeepers, who are desperate to get their hands on seeds as they are crucial for the hives to survive and flourish, so this grant will be very well received.”


He said the efforts to save the beehives have been quite remarkable.

One volunteer scooped up all the bees that had fallen to the ground from one hive, while three of the younger helpers, Amy, Kate and Lucy, offered £1.80 from their weekly pocket money to help.

“Such is the love that the kids have for their bees,” he said.

Siobhan Samson, community engagement co-ordinator at Banks Group – the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business – said: “It is clear how much this project means to the local community following recent events.

“We work extensively with local communities at all of our wind-farm proposals. We hope to create lasting improvements that are beneficial to locals in and around South Lanarkshire, providing them with a better quality of community life.

“The beekeepers are a fantastic example of this and we hope their wildflowers help the hives thrive and begin to pay themselves.”

In May 2014, Banks Renewables had plans approved for its 26-turbine Kype Muir Wind Farm 5km south of Strathaven. As part of its Connect2Renewables partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and neighbouring communities, the firm pledged a percentage of revenue generated will be allocated to the community.



7 ways to protect our honey bees

7 ways to protect our honey bees

The 10th July celebrates ‘National Don’t Step On A Bee Day’ – but what does that mean for our buzzing friends?


Did you know that bees are an essential part of our eco-system and because of that are worth over £650 million per year to the UK economy?

Unfortunately, in recent years the number of bees in some countries has nearly halved because of changes to their habitat and a toxic cocktail of pesticides and fungicides.

The introduction of a deadly mite called Varroa, which was accidentally imported from Asia, has also affected the number of honeybees in the English countryside as well.

In support of National Don’t Step On A Bee Day which is taking place this weekend, here are a few ways to help encourage the honeybees in your garden to thrive…

1) Avoid chemically treating your flowers as the chemicals will transfer onto the pollen and affect the bees. This is because if any chemicals are applied to your flowers while they are in bloom it will get into the pollen and nectar, the bees will then take it back to the beehive and it will transfer into the honey.

2) A lawn full of daisys and dandelions is a great haven for bees and a natural food source, so avoid putting any treatments on your grass and instead embrace its natural beauty. The honey bees will thank you for it!

3) Did you know bees like to drink water? If you want to encourage more honey bees leaving a little water basin out, or making sure your bird bath is topped up with water and stones for them to crawl on, is helpful for both the birds and the bees in your garden!

4) Always try and buy British honey at farm shops and delis.  The majority of honey we find on the shelves in UK supermarkets is imported from abroad when we have so many local beekeepers across the country.

5) Why not experiment with seed balls to help nurture some bee-friendly blooms? Try scattering seed balls made with wild flower seeds, clay, compost and chilli powder in your garden to create a colourful array of flowers that will attract bees from far and wide. Cornflowers, sunflowers and wildflowers like poppies are always popular with buzzing bees.


6) Adopting a beehive is a fantastic way to support The British Bee Keepers Association and to help encourage vital research into honey bee health. It’ll also make the perfect gift for nature lovers and gardeners everywhere!

7) For anyone who has always toyed with turning their fascination with honey bees into a hobby, owning a beehive can be a really rewarding experience. If that seems too much work, installing a bee house into your garden will give any friendly bees a place to hibernate during the winter as well.