By Angela Green
A Leamington hotel has appointed its first ever beekeeper as part of a project which aims to boost the local bee population and produce honey for its menus. Mallory Court Hotel and Spa has welcomed Lottie Buckland to the role, who will take care of the hotel’s four new beehives.
The bees originally arrived as two hives, one of which was a rescue colony and the other adopted, they have both grown in numbers through summer.
Mallory Court is hoping the project can not only boost local bee numbers and pollinate green spaces but is also exploring how its local and sustainably produced honey can be used in recipes at its restaurant and spa café, as well as sold in pots for guests to enjoy.
Taking care of them is very much a family affair for Lottie with her two young children, nine-year-old Betty and five-year-old Joseph, often found in their bee suits at Mallory Court helping the hives to flourish.
Lottie, 42, from Leamington Spa, said: “I have always been fascinated by bees, but only got into beekeeping at the beginning of last year when taster sessions were offered by our local Warwick and Leamington Beekeepers branch.
“Within the space of a week I had completed my Introduction to Beekeeping course, acquired my own bees, and filled my first beehive, and I’m now on the display committee of the local Beekeeping branch and the British Beekeeping Association, so it has been a bit of a whirlwind with a steep but amazing learning curve.
“When I took on two new hives, I needed a location to allow them to grow and Mallory Court offered their beautiful gardens, which is an ideal location for them to thrive. The hotel and its staff really appreciate the role bees have to play with regards to biodiversity, and in return the bees are pollinating the wonderful kitchen gardens.
“Next year we will hopefully have a good honey harvest if the weather is kind, and the bees are able to get plenty of foraging time.”
The UK is home to more than 260 species of bee, including bumblebees and solitary bees, but only has one species of honeybee.
However, the UK’s honeybees are currently facing a new and potentially devastating threat, with invasive Asian hornets growing in numbers in the UK.
“Asian Hornets can consume 30-50 bees a day and terrorise the hives, and our honeybee population will struggle if these Asian hornets are able to become established,” Lottie added.
“To have projects like the one here at Mallory Court is fantastic as it will help raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, and also change the image of beekeeping as it is a fantastic activity to do as a family.”
The hotel is showcasing its new bees at an upcoming Open Day on Sunday, September 17, from 12-4pm, which includes activities such as an observation hive behind glass to watch how the colony works, an arts and crafts table for children, and tips on how to help the local bee population.
Josefine Blomqvist, General Manager of the hotel on Harbury Lane, added: “The bees have been a real success story thanks to Lottie’s guidance and we are really looking forward to working with her to help them grow.
“The upcoming Open Day will be a great chance for people to meet Lottie, learn more about our hives, and pick up tips on how people can support our local bee population.”