Back in 2012, Campbell’s blog post Beekeeping in ancient Egypt and today mentioned that we hoped that the Museum would soon have its own beehive – and now it does!
Keen eyed visitors to our Ancient Worlds galleries may have spotted the inscriptions of bees on display but we also now have a rooftop hive.
In fact we’ve just come to the end of the season for beekeeping for 2014. We’ve put them to bed for the winter.
The bees worked really hard to produce 3 supers (one of the boxes that hold the honeycombs in the hive) of honey.
Their numbers will reduce, though a core group will remain. Gathering round the queen fanning with their wings to regulate the temperature for the queen. We extracted the honey and have left one super with them to see them through the winter months.
The winter can be a tough time for bees so it’s the honey will be needed to fuel this activity as they can’t forage during winter. Hopefully this honey will see them through until the more clement weather in the spring.
The honey they have produced is a delicious and citrusy crop flavoured by the foraging from the lime trees across campus.
While we haven’t yet had enough honey to share widely it’s been a really good year for our bees, we have seen the arrival of a new queen and the colony has grown and gone from strength to strength.
We’re hoping for a short and mild winter to give them a good start for the new year.
One of the Museum’s two objectives is ‘Working towards a sustainable world’ which is a big part of why we support the bees as they’re essential to the pollination process and a healthy environment.
Ours is one of a number of hives across the Manchester Partnership. Manchester Art Gallery have two, we have one and the Whitworth is set to join the fun in March 2015 – following the opening.
While we don’t have enough honey to sell this year you can still win some by suggesting a name (with a link to Manchester Museum and our collections) via our Facebook or Twitter by this Sunday
Sam, Sally & Steve
(with thanks to Campbell)