Glasgow & West Scotland

120,000 bees take up residence at Glasgow City Council HQ

Bees on Glasgow City Chambers roof Image copyright Glasgow City Council
Image caption Council leader Gordon Matheson (left) with the bees on the City Chambers roof

More than 120,000 bees have taken up residence on the roof of Glasgow City Council headquarters.

The insects are being housed in two insulated hives designed to keep them warm during the winter on the flat roof of the City Chambers.

The initiative is part of wider council schemes to use spare space around the city for sustainable development.

It is hoped the bees will frequent flowers in George Square, Merchant City and on Glasgow Green.

Council leader Gordon Matheson, who also chairs the Sustainable Glasgow group, 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.

'Dear green place'

"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."

The council contracted the eco-business, Plan Bee Ltd, to provide the bees and hives as well as training council staff to look after the insects.

There is now a waiting list among council staff to be on the team of trained volunteers who look after the bees.

Any wax produced in the hives will be used as a sustainable source of polish for furniture in the council's Satinwood Suite.

'Garden city'

A decision will be taken on how the honey will be used depending on the quantity 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."

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.

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