Midlothian college launches bee-keeping course

A college in Midlothian is helping to halt the decline of the UK honey bee population by running beekeeping classes for staff and students.

The classes at  Newbattle Abbey College will give those taking part the chance to learn more about the art of beekeeping and the reasons behind the recent decline.

Although the beekeeping classes are out with the college curriculum, a number of students and staff have already put their names forward for the course.

The classes will run on Wednesday evenings up to the Easter holidays, by which time, the bees should be awake and ready to start collecting pollen.

Classes will be delivered by the college depute principal Norah Fitzcharles, who is a keen beekeeper in her spare time.

Norah said: “I’m delighted to be able to share my skills and experience with students and fellow staff. Hopefully each person taking part in the course will be able to take home their very own ‘Newbattle honey’ in June!”

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) which has 11,000 members, has been warning the Government that bee numbers have been falling dramatically and that a potential economic and ecological disaster is unfolding.

Bees play a vital role in pollinating crops, particularly soft fruit and the BBKA estimates they are worth £165 million a year to the agricultural economy.

Theories on what is causing their decline  range from mobile phone radiation to pestidices, from genetically modified crops to climate change.