There has been much buzz around our London office in the past couple of weeks as we welcomed 10,000 new workers, a hive full of bees.
Our London engineers are working side by side with a colony of bees, although on a very different project. The bees are concentrating on what they do best, making honey!
Cundall’s Green Team, set-up to identify and champion opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of Cundall’s offices and business operations, organised this initiative. Kavita Kumari, London Green Team Leader, and Sarah Linnell, a student placement Engineer, explain how Cundall came to bee:
The inspiration beehind Cundall’s bee colony
Bees are currently struggling; if our native bees die out we will lose a third of our diet, therefore it is essential that this workforce is nurtured.
An article from London.gov.uk called ‘London’s bees need you!’ stated that “Large, urban centres are beecoming havens for bee populations. They provide a milder climate and a wider range of food than the countryside. London has a key part to play in the future survival of Britain’s bee populations and with more Londoners than ever choosing to grow their own food, bees are more important than ever .”
Discovering this necessity for encouraging bees, the Green Team was inspired by Fortnum & Mason’s bee garden, which has gained lots of attention through their support of the currently struggling bee population. With many offices in Holborn adopting city bee hives, Cundall London decided they would support this great initiative and obtain their own colony.
How Cundall went about getting their own colony
Through communication with a City Beekeeper and a Landscape Architect, an otherwise unused terrace space was identified. The area was then transformed into a small bee-friendly garden around the stylish white bee hive, with the potential for further planting and additional bee hives, if desired. The site is away from human traffic and there is no problem with bees coming close to clients or staff. With neighbouring offices beeing located adjacent, a willow screen was installed to provide privacy and support for the honeysuckle. Our office-made irrigation system will water our chosen troughs of; buddleia, honeysuckle, thyme, rosemary and English lavender – hints of which will hopefully bee present in our summer honey.
So far the bees have been very successful, as confirmed by our first hive inspection two weeks after their arrival. The queen has produced multiple eggs and larvae, which indicates the hive beeing healthy. There has been vast honey production as shown by the increased temperature and humidity inside the hive. As nectar is 80% water, during honey production, moisture is built up inside the hive, which is then ventilated at each inspection visit. We discovered that as part of the natural ‘hive-keeping’ process, the bees themselves remove deceased bees from inside the hive to maximise space. Providing this success continues and the summer is warm, we hope to have our first batch of Cundall honey by the end of the season.
If you are considering a similar scheme in your office, please feel free to contact Kavita Kumari or Sarah Linnell to hear further about our experience so far.