Bees inhabit Snake Island at Teddies
Last week, St Edward’s took delivery of a host of new inhabitants, 40,000 of them to be precise: honey bees have officially arrived at Teddies. Pupils Guy Moss (heading up the project), Afiq Rozhan, Nikita Radkevitch, and Gurinder Singh made four new hives to accommodate the School’s new additions.
An apiary has been established in an area of land within the School’s grounds with a name perhaps more in keeping with a J.M. Barrie creation: Snake Island. Situated next to the Oxford Canal, the bees will have an ample supply of water, as well as crops and wild plants in close proximity, providing an excellent habitat for the colony to thrive – and for some delicious honey to be produced.
The colony is expected to expand up to about 70,000 bees in time, and their produce will be used by the catering department, with the excess sold locally.
The bees arrived from Sipa Honey Bees in Newbury on Wednesday 3rd May, with the Sub Warden, Tom James, on hand to officially open the apiary. A new Beekeeping Society will shortly be established to teach pupils the ancient art of beekeeping, and there will be a competition to design the School’s new honey label.
Aside from those pupils directly involved in the maintenance and upkeep of the bees, there is also a wider educational benefit to pupils. The study of bees can provide significantly, with their role as pollinators contributing to one third of the food that we consume, the biological evolution of the bees, with the development of their limbs and mouth parts, and the examination of sociological constructs are also well demonstrated by the patterns within the hive.
The crucial role of bees and other pollinators, which contribute some £440 million to the British economy every year, also highlights the importance of working to maintain and protect biodiversity and natural ecosystems.