|Volunteer bee keeper trying to save bees at Compton Verney|
Last Monday evening an attempt was made to steal the second hive of bees from the grounds at Compton Verney. The attempt was thwarted but the hive was dropped and damaged leaving a devastated colony.
This was the second time that thieves have struck since the hives were installed in April. Sadly, the first attempt in early November resulted in the more dormant colony and their hive being removed completely. The gallery are extremely upset as the two hives were purchased as a result of public donations and have been maintained since their arrival by volunteer bee keeper Rod Oates. Up until November the bee colonies were doing well and had produced 40 pounds of honey over the summer, which was then sold in the Compton Verney shop.
Volunteer bee keeper Rod Oates said “What has happened has been very disturbing for us and the bees. Over winter honey bees cluster around their Queen to maintain a temperature of 35-40°C. As so many of the bees were destroyed in this fumbled attempt to steal the hive and the colony, we are unsure whether the remaining bees will survive the winter. Only time will tell”.
Gary Webb, Head of Landscape and Gardens at Compton Verney said: “We are shocked that these incidents have occurred and we would ask that all keepers in the region to be extra vigilant to the threat of bee rustling which seems to be on the increase across the country. However we will not be deterred from keeping bees and will be doing everything we can to keep them safe and support them over winter. It is important for us to keep them at Compton Verney to share with the public how fascinating these creatures are, demonstrate the integral role they play in our food chain and reap the benefits of the pollination of the flora and fauna at Compton Verney”.
Compton Verney is currently accepting donations towards a new colony of bees. To donate please call Aly Grimes on 01926 645 547.
The police are currently investigating the matter. The National and Warwickshire bee keepers association have been alerted to inform their members.