The under-threat pollinators are being housed in two insulated beehives to keep them warm during the winter months. Disease, pesticides, climate change and a lack of places for them to forage are blamed for their decline in recent years. It’s hoped that the new beehives will provide a good base for this colony to cover an area with a radius as wide as three miles, frequenting flowers in George Square, Merchant City and on Glasgow Green as well as flying further afield to other parks around the city.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Sustainable Glasgow, said: “Bees are exceptionally important to the food chain. They pollinate a third of the food we eat and also pollinate trees which help reduce air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
“Sadly their numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years so Sustainable Glasgow is doing its bit to help reverse that decline by installing these two hives.
“I hope the bees will flourish in their new homes and help us ensure Glasgow remains a Dear Green Place for generations to come.”
Plan Bee Ltd were contracted to provide the bees and hives as well as training council staff to look after the industrious insects. Wax produced by the bees will be used as a sustainable source of polish for furniture in the council’s Satinwood Suite.
A decision has yet to be taken on how the honey will be used. It will depend on the amount and quality produced.
Warren Bader of Plan Bee Ltd said: “Glasgow is a fantastic garden city with a lot of green spaces including Glasgow Green, Kelvingrove Park and the riverside. There is a lot of buddleia which bees love and they can actually be safer in a city than in the countryside where a lot of farmers use pesticides and can plant mono cultures (just one type of crop) which isn’t healthy for pollen production.
“The bees will go out foraging across Glasgow and in a good summer could produce plenty of honey.
“Glasgow City Council is leading the way for other local authorities in Scotland by putting hives on the roof of the City Chambers. No one need worry about them being there – unless you are a flower the bees really aren’t interested!”
The Greener Legacy project is being funded by the city council and Stalled Spaces.
Glasgow aims to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe by cutting carbon emissions produced by its activities by 30% by 2020.
Existing initiatives include the creation of a network of electric car charging points, the introduction of solar powered parking meters, the employment of Green Wardens, the use of electric vehicles in the council fleet and the creation of a Green Energy Services Company to promote and oversee renewable energy projects in the city.
Glasgow’s Stalled Spaces initiative is now being rolled out across Scotland after being so successful in the city. It has seen over 63 disused spaces in Glasgow brought back into use as community gardens, performances spaces and as locations for public art installations.
Next year Glasgow plans to hold Green Year 2015 – 12 months of activities celebrating the city’s green credentials and also encouraging others to do their bit for the environment.
Find out more about Green Year 2015 by following @greenglasgow on twitter.
Glasgow City Council: ‘Thousands of Bees Set up Home on Roof of City Chambers’
BBC News: ‘120,000 bees take up residence at Glasgow City Council HQ’