London offices offered bee hives to 'boost work morale'

Businesses in central London are being offered free bee hives to see if they will enhance office morale.

InMidtown, a group representing firms in Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles, said it has offered hives to 560 businesses in a pilot scheme.

The scheme hopes hosting apiaries will aid team building in firms and add to the urban food production.

Five businesses who have signed up are hosting 40,000 bees in eight hives on their roofs and terraces.

Employees of the host businesses will be trained to assist professional beekeepers to care for the hives and harvest honey.

Dr Susan Parham, head of urbanism at the University of Hertfordshire, will monitor the impact of hosting hives in a working environment.

Bee-friendly flowers

Law firm Olswang has signed up to the project and has a bee hive on its roof and another on a terrace in Holborn. It said the bees were a "very docile" variety.

"It just seemed like a great project and staff absolutely love it," said Sam Hudson, corporate responsibility executive at the firm.

Image caption Up to 560 firms are being offered free bee hives

Once a week 20 staff members don bee suits to check on the hives with a professional, and the firm hopes to harvest its first batch of honey this autumn.

"We are going to sell it off to our staff and raise money for our charity partner Coram. Hopefully give some to our clients as well," Ms Hudson said.

Tass Mavrogordato, chief executive of InMidtown, said the pilot scheme aimed to tap into the business benefits of hosting apiaries.

She said: "To ensure there is enough food from the off we've been filling five bike-lock planters with bee-friendly flowers since last autumn, with a further 20 planters installed along with the new hives."

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