The resident bees at Cranfield University have once again been busy making honey over the summer months, resulting in the annual harvest of its hives.

The University’s four hives, containing an estimated 240,000 bees, are positioned within a woodland area of the picturesque campus and are managed by groundskeepers, Nurture. Cranfield staff and students were invited to attend the Honey Harvesting Experience, during which they learnt about the ‘capping’, ‘spinning’ and ‘pouring’ of the honey. Altogether, over 100 jars of artisan honey were produced across the season.

Gareth Ellis, Energy & Environment Manager at Cranfield, said: “It is great to see our colleagues getting involved with the honey harvest for a second year running; a fantastic sign that the colonies are well-established and healthy.

“The honey harvest is one of many activities we co-ordinated for this year’s ‘Green Week’, in addition to biodiversity walks, launching the Small Action Big Impact campaign and an introduction to Cranfield’s Living Laboratory.”

Each colony is made up of a queen bee, female workers and male drones – each with very specific tasks to be undertaken within the hive, depending on their age. Over the winter, numbers will drop within the hives to around 5,000 as a bee’s life cycle is approximately 40 days and no young are raised over the winter months.

The Cranfield campus is a hot spot for biodiversity due to its rural setting among a habitat mosaic of scrubland, woodland, wetland and farmland. Areas of the campus are also devoted to wildflower plots which support natural biodiversity.  All this adds to the amenity value of the campus, providing more visually appealing natural spaces for staff, students and families, and for visitors to enjoy.

Earlier this year, the University won two awards at the 2018 Wildlife Gardening at Work award for its significant engagement of staff and students in biodiversity across the Cranfield campus and scooped ‘Overall Winner – Best Wildlife Garden’.  Staff involvement in the Honey Harvesting Experience 2017 particularly impressed judges in addition to areas of campus being devoted to wildflower plots which support natural biodiversity and a ‘wildflower maze’ being installed near the children’s playground.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.