The Eden Project connects people with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Eden is an educational charity. Money raised supports transformational projects and learning programmes.
‘We love bees, especially Apis mellifera mellifera and bumbles and …. On the walk down towards the main Eden entrance are three hives containing our Native Dark European Honey Bee colonies managed by Rodger Dewhurst. Their inhabitants feast on the gorse, heather and forest garden plants in this area. We tell the story of the Cornish Native Honey bee next to Bombus the bee, an installation by Robert Bradford. She sits centre stage in front the Biomes amidst a year-round display of plants for pollinators. The Biomes themselves took inspiration from honeycombs. Hexagons; maximum strength, minimum materials.
The B4 2019 conference Sustainable Beekeeping, a Future without Imports, is being held at Eden in the Gallery on Sat 16th February 2019. Click here to book
Rodger Dewhurst is hosting a tour at Eden from our resident beekeeper’s perspective, on Wednesday 20th Feb. 40 places available. Click here to book
Between 26 Jan and 17 March 2019 there will be an exhibition in Eden’s Exhibition’s Gallery in The Core building entitled, ‘Views on Bees‘.
Ideas for a pollination trail between the giant bee and a contemporary bee observation hive in the ‘Wild Cornwall’ exhibit on the edge of the Eden site are being designed. www.edenproject.com/giant-bee
University of Plymouth
The University of Plymouth and B4 have won funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for a join project. B4 will be the Case (Collaborative awards in science and engineering) partner for a NERC funded a PhD student starting September 2017. Washington State University is also a partner.
The PhD will be investigating the genomic and phenotypic basis of local adaptation in the native dark honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera.
The University of Plymouth is taking DNA samples and analysing colony characteristics. This is an opportunity to take part in one of the most detailed DNA testing and phenotypic surveys of bees ever held in England.
Email Victoria for details
Twenty native dark honey bee colonies have been established on Duchy land in Lostwithiel and near to Callington in Cornwall. These sites have been chosen as they will hopefully provide ideal conditions for the successful breeding of native dark honey bees.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
With help from the B4 Project and Rodger Dewhurst, the Lost Gardens of Heligan have created a completely new, covered interpretation facility in the shape of a human-sized beehive complete with information panels. An observation hive, queen breeding apidea area and a number of new colonies in WBC hives form part of the display. Heligan’s interpretation of the Cornish Dark Honey Bee and its critical relationship to its environment is visionary.
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park was the B4Project’s first partner and took delivery of its first two colonies of Cornish Dark Honey Bees in May of 2013.
Beekeeper and retired police officer Gerry Stuart, of the Torbay branch of the British Beekeeper’s Association, based at Cockington, looks after the bees at Paignton Zoo.
Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “This bee is small, dark, tough and hairy and has survived in parts of Cornwall, Wales, the Western Isles and Ireland – it’s a real Celtic bee!”
Mike Bungard, Paignton Zoo’s Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, said: “We wanted to introduce another invertebrate species into our collection and the black bee is ideal, because it is a native species that is in need of our help. Our role is to tell visitors about the black bee and what is being done to help it. The Paignton Zoo colony is one of the first outside Cornwall.”
The hives have been placed in the Zoo’s giant tortoise paddock, where the bee flight path is safely above and away from visitors.
Paignton Zoo is a member of the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA). BIAZA represents its member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.
Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park
On a glorious sunny day in one of our most beautiful country parks in the grounds of Mount Edgcumbe House, Cornwall, a crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of England’s first Black Bee Reserve.
The tape was cut by Tim Smit, famous for creating the Eden Project and restoring the Lost Garden of Heligan.
The spacious public viewing room allows close observation of the bees in the apiary, while educating the visitor about our native Dark European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera. Referred to as the Native Dark Honey Bee, it has been found to be thriving in Mount Edgcumbe Park and the surrounding Rame Peninsular, as well as in other parts of Cornwall.
Bob Black runs the B4 Native Honey Bee Apiary at the National Trust property Godolphin House as part of his Native Bee project across 5 sites in West Cornwall. Bob returned to bee keeping after a 30 year gap. He has been working with Native Honey Bees and breeding and selecting for native bee qualities on his sites and has been remarkably successful in a short space of time. Bob holds the precept that it is important to work with nature and science in order to achieve a viable population of honey bees.