Nursery enjoys sweet rewards from bees

John Richardson, chairman of Johnsons of Whixley, with a jar of the first batch of honey from the nursery's on-site bee-hives.
John Richardson, chairman of Johnsons of Whixley, with a jar of the first batch of honey from the nursery's on-site bee-hives.

A horticultural nursery has collected its first batch of honey after installing an on-site apiary earlier this year.

Johnsons of Whixley, which is one of the largest suppliers to the amenity sector in Europe, recognised the important role that bees play and partnered with Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers’ Association to provide the insects with a new home, constructed in May.

The new apiary has already boosted bee numbers, and several jars of honey have now been collected.

Each bee can make just half a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, meaning it takes around 180 bees to fill a jar.

The UK bee population has fallen by a third since 2007 due to wet summers, which prevent bees from searching out pollen, and environmental changes, such as the increased use of pesticides and the depletion of natural habitats.

Graham Richardson, group MD of Johnsons of Whixley, said: “The installation of the on-site apiary has proven a hugely worthwhile exercise.

“It’s our duty to protect and nurture our ecosystem, and this is a small way that we can do just that.”

Bees play a vital role in food production; studies have shown that around a third of the world’s food is pollination-dependent.