Run by the Head of Biology, Mr Ainge, members of the club started to complete a Bee Keeping course and also began preparations for the installation of a hive on the school grounds.
On 16 November 2020, Native Scottish Black Bees were safely delivered to our school apiary. Since their installation, the bees have been doing incredibly well and the hive is thriving. The bees are currently in their nucleus (a small hive) and will hopefully move into a full-sized hive this summer.
In order to prepare for the bees, the pupils were required to complete a wide range of tasks. This included: studying bee theory to develop their knowledge on parasites, infections and feeding habits; agreeing an appropriate site for the bees by liaising with Dollar’s Gardening Club and grounds staff; creating a budget proposal for the Bursars’ Office and fully considering the health and safety regulations associated with their activities.
After the bees’ installation last term, members of the club were able to continue their work on the nucleus, build and paint the hive and prepare frames for the summer.
Going forward, the focus will be on maintaining and caring for the bees. Once in their full-sized hive, the bees will proliferate and our pupils will hopefully have two hives by 2022. The club is hopeful that by then, the hives will be well established and will produce honey and wax.
Due to COVID restrictions this term, Mr Ainge has been checking on the bees by himself, but has been filming the process and sharing the videos with the pupils over Teams. If you would like to watch a video of our bees in their nucleus, click here.
The club has been working with Cloverlea Apiaries, a family-run Honey Bee farm in the Ochil Hills, who have offered support and advice to our pupils and staff during the establishment of the apiary.
Native Scottish Black Bees are rare and are endemic only to the Isle of Colonsay. Cloverlea has teamed up with a Native Scottish Black Bee farm on Colonsay to begin a breeding programme in Fife. Dollar Academy will help to contribute to the breeding programme by offering Queen Bee cells that develop in our hives.
If you or your child is interested in becoming a member of our Bee Keeping Club, please contact Mr Ainge in the Biology Department.
On 18 January, Cloverlea Apiaries will be feature in The Farmers Country Showdown on BBC One at 3.45pm.