30,000 bees enjoying life on a warm Grimsby roof-top
THERE is a buzz in the centre of Grimsby – where 30,000 bees are living on a roof-top.
It may not seem the usual place to find bees, but in fact these honey-makers prefer the urban lifestyle at the Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Mind centre on Kent Street.
With it being a degree or so warmer in the town than in the countryside and plenty of greenery around – volunteer and bee enthusiast Rick Woolmer knew they would take to the lifestyle.
Rick, who is also an operator at Phillips 66, said: "I love caring for bees and it is so relaxing when I have my full bee-keeping suit on and 30,000 bees swarm around me. It doesn't bother me.
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"In fact, when they swarm it doesn't mean they're angry at all, they are usually full from feeding so they can't even bend to sting.
"And surprisingly, they prefer living in a town because they can get food all year round from people's gardens and crops.
"It is also warmer for them in the centre because of the heat given off from buildings and concrete."
Rick has three hives on the roof-top – during the winter there are about 10,000 bees per hive, and in the summer there could be up to 70,000 bees per hive.
In the colder months, bees survive by huddling together in their hive, where the temperature can be up to 30 degrees.
Rick also has other hives at Bradley Green Futures, Killingholme and Weelsby Road allotments.
He added: "You can't beat fresh honey, and throughout the year it tastes different depending on what they eat.
"We take honey from them from June to August. The early honey tastes light and waxy, the later it is produced it is darker and almost treacle-like.
"It is because they enjoy conifers and ivy during the latter months when nothing much is flowering.
"I sell my honey at shows and at the centre on Kent Street. I enjoy it on its own or on bread."
Rick said people shouldn't be scared of bees as they rarely sting, but he has had a few bad experiences: "They like to get you where it hurts, such as your ankles and private parts ... believe me it hurts!
"I was stung on my ankle and it swelled up so much that my skin was struggling to stretch."
Chairman of the Lincolnshire Beekeepers' Association, Mike Beec ham, said there are many beekeepers in the middle of London.
He said: "Contrary to people's expectations, many honey bees live in an urban environment and they often do better than bees living in the countryside.
"Most towns and cities are greener than a lot of people realise and bees forage over a three-mile radius from the hive.
"Also, towns can often be a degree or so warmer than the open countryside.
"One degree may not seem much, but it can extend the time spent foraging by the bees."
Mike also explained why bees are so important: "We have to remember that, though honey bees are not the only pollinating insects, they are one of the most important.
"It is estimated that one-third of all the food we eat is dependent on pollination by honey bees.
"Without the bees, we would lose a lot of food plants and flowers because without pollination there would be no fruit or seed."