School hive of activity as buzzing pupils harvest honey for project

Pupils at Baldragon Academy in Dundee have been learning about beekeeping as part of a new project.

A Dundee secondary school is buzzing with activity as pupils enter the world of beekeeping.

As well as producing their own honey, pupils at Baldragon Academy are using the hives to learn about the life cycle of the insects, how to spot diseases and pollination.

Around 40,000 of the insects are now living in each of the hives being looked after by students.

Fred Mollison, Scottish expert bee master, is helping the pupils with the lessons.

He said: “We’re taking them to business studies, where they are doing marketing and research into the bees.

“They will be doing the sales of the honey and such likes and also the upkeep and husbandry of bees.

“Of course, because they are livestock and live creatures, they are learning about the living in rural structure of the bees and the stuff that they’re doing with the flora and fauna.”

The hives here are full of bees getting ready for the cooler months. It’s part of a larger project which involves all departments in the school.

Baldragon Academy pupils are harvesting and selling honey

Lessons in beekeeping have been welcomed into the curriculum by school staff and pupils alike, who were specially trained before the bees arrived.

Amelia Piorkowska, Emily McCready and Zac Hay are all pupils involved in the project.

Amelia said: “I’ve got more interest in it now. Its really good as we can get qualifications for it now and it’s also good for the environment and it’s nice to just be out there and enjoy everything.”

“So when we go up to the bee shed we go to look for brood, larvae honey, nectar and all of that sort of thing and we sometimes like to look for the queen bee in and amongst the other bees,” Emily added.

Zac explained: “I like looking after animals and insects, and seeing how bees produce honey.”

It is hoped that these Dundonian bees will boost pollinator populations in the local area.

Nicola Watt, a teacher at the school explained: “I think it’s really important. I think people are becoming more and more aware of how important bees are to the environment.

“When you start looking at how important living things like bees are, you just recognise how everything is interconnected and how it is important that we are taking care of the environment.

“I think it develops a greater appreciation in the pupils, it drives other things and makes them more inclined to save energy, recycle and those types of things.”

Next year the school hopes to offer a qualification in beekeeping and further expand the hives to benefit pupils and the environment.

The honey collected from the hives is now on sale at Dundee Science Centre, the final part of the project.

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