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The Pierhead bee project

>> Make a beeline for the Assembly blog for updates from the hives throughout the year.

In 2016 the Assembly was approached by Professor Les Baillie from Cardiff University's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  Professor Baillie and his team are investigating the potential of engineering honey as an alternative to antibiotics, as part of the Pharmabees project.  The team are also encouraging bees to thrive in Cardiff's urban environment by working with sites who may be able to host them.

Keen to be involved, we visited a range of other organisations with hives, including Cardiff University's own apiary on their Redwood building, before installing two hives on the roof of the Pierhead in summer 2018. Despite being a roof-top location the hives are in a safe, sheltered spot which gives them protection from the worst of Cardiff Bay's weather.

Although it might not seem as though there's much greenery in urban Cardiff, honey bees typically travel up to three miles to collect pollen.  Our bees will be able to access plenty of wild flowers around the Bay and barrage, public parks, schools and the plants in local Grangetown gardens.

The Pierhead joins St David's Dewi Sant shopping centre, Chapter Arts centre, the Royal Hotel and the National Museum of Wales who all host rooftop beehives around the city.

 

Background

Bee numbers worldwide have fallen dramatically in recent years. A number of factors have contributed to their decline, including pesticides, intensive farming and a huge reduction in their natural hedgerow and wildflower habitats.

Why is this important? Bees pollinate 80% of all plants. Alongside fruit and vegetables they pollinate tea, coffee and cocoa beans. We also rely on them to pollinate other crops which are turned into animal feed, oil or cloth such as rapeseed and cotton.

In fact, insects including bees are estimated to contribute over £600 million to the UK economy every year.  If bee numbers continue to decline, the high cost of pollinating crops in other ways could significantly increase the cost of the fruit and vegetables we see in our supermarkets.

The National Assembly for Wales aims to be exemplar in sustainability and environmental performance. As one of the leading public institutions in Wales, we are proud to play a part in protecting these valuable creatures.

 
 

 

For more information about the Pierhead Bee project contact: sustainability@assembly.wales

>> Make a beeline for the Assembly blog for updates from the hives throughout the year.

 One of our volunteers monitoring the hives at the Pierhead

One of our volunteers monitoring the hives at the Pierhead

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