Hive of activity as bees buzz into Student Centre

Neil Hodgsonin Conservation & Ecology

More than 150,000 bees are set for a new home on the rooftop of the new showpiece Student Centre project currently under way as part of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) £200m Masterplan.

Dave Genther, second from right

The UCLan estates team introduced five hives of bees at its Westleigh Conference Centre two years ago - with the population growing to more than 250,000 bees.

And UCLan honey may be on the menu for students once the project at the iconic building - to be seen rising above the Preston skyline - is completed.

Dave Genther, UCLan's head groundsman, said: "The plan is to take three hives with about 50,000 bees in each to the rooftop of the new Student Centre.

"They will be entirely safe for students and the public in three polystyrene hives on the roof where we will create a dedicated area for them. All the team have got involved and thoroughly enjoyed it."

"We've had training in establishing a hive, developing the colonies and even honey production. We made a small amount of honey for the first-time last year and we hope to have UCLan honey at the Student Centre at some stage."

He added: "Developing the hives has added a new dimension of work and a sense of health and wellbeing for us all."

Training on beekeeping has been provided by the Tree Bee Society which has even awarded certificates to a number of the UCLan staff involved at beginner and intermediate levels.

In addition to the new bee population, more than 300 new trees will be planted as part of the Masterplan development in a move to provide a greener environment for students, staff and local residents.

Construction on UCLan's Masterplan continues to progress, with the Student Centre rising across the skyline through contractor Bowmer + Kirkland, with improvements to the highways around the Adelphi Quarter being carried out by Balfour Beatty.

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