Tesco buzzing for bee project trial
CALLINGTON was a hive of activity recently, when men in #beekeepers’ suits visited the local Tesco store and got away with two large tubs of white sugar without having paid for them, while the store manager watched, smiling.
The beekeepers — members of the Cornish #bee preservation group, the Bee Improvement Programme for Cornwall (BIPCo) — are part of a pilot project to collect leftover white sugar donated by the supermarket to help feed rare native bees.
BIPCo was founded to conserve and protect the endangered British bee population, which has sadly declined by a third since 2007, specifically the native Cornish black bees, which have a natural resistance to mites and diseases.
The beekeepers turn the sugar into syrup and fondant for the bees as an artificial replacement for honey or nectar.
Lucy Hughes, the Tesco manager who came up with the idea, said: “It seemed such a waste to throw away sugar which, although no longer fit for human consumption, is perfectly good for the bees. I asked local beekeepers David and Tracy Ledger if they might have a use for it, and they were very keen on the idea. It grew from that, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”
The project has been trialed in Callington and Launceston, prior to being rolled out across selected Tesco stores across Devon and Cornwall.
Chairman of BIPCo, Nick Bentham-Green, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Tesco stores, both here at Callington and throughout Cornwall and Devon, are helping both BIPCo and B4 (Bring Back Black Bees) with the conservation of the native British #honey bee, by saving waste sugar for our project beekeepers, which is used to feed our bees for the winter.”
Store manager, Martin Hawkins, added: “We are delighted to be able to support the Cornish beekeepers in their vital conservation efforts. It is a very simple idea but one which, if it works, could be adopted further afield.”