Tesco helps to feed the bees

Joseph Bulmer

A Bideford store will be helping to keep North Devon bees buzzing through the winter months.

Sallie McKay-Roper, community champion at the Tesco store at East-the-Water, was quick to answer an unusual request from one of the customers.

Beekeeper Alan Huxtable approached Sallie with the request for a donation of sugar to help see the colonies of bees through the winter months.

Sallie visited the North Devon School of Country Beekeeping at Harracott Village Hall with a donation of sugar. She learned that the bees are fed when nectar gathered from flowers, but when this is not so available they need some help to ensure there is enough food in the hive to see them through the winter months, until they can forage again on the flowers next spring. The sugar would be converted into syrup before being fed to the bees.

“I was lucky enough to watch the bees being fed, which was fascinating,” she said. “Syrup was poured in and the bees came up to drink it from a dish at the top.”

The beekeeping school meets every Tuesday afternoon to discuss the management of bees and honey and help each other with any problems. In addition to many individual bee hives, there is also an area with beehives used to help teach pupils beekeeping management.

Anyone interested in a course on keeping bees, which is being held next April, can contact Michael Duncan at www.ndschb.com.