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40,000 honey bees descend on Southampton docks - and produce honey
SOUTHAMPTON has a global reputation for being home to one of the busiest docks in the world.
And it seems it has just got a little buzz-ier.
Staff at DP World’s container terminal have discovered three hives in the huge dockside cranes and giant straddle carriers that move the large container boxes around.
It is one of the more unusual places for bees to set up home but there is no sting in the tale of this story.
The bees clearly seem to love the dockside environment and views across the water as their numbers are thriving, while the staff are benefiting too.
Fortunately, Pete Terry, the container terminal’s safety and security officer, is a beekeeper to his own hives at home and helped to re-home the hives – even flying in extra queen bees to help with the move.
Pete scooped the bees out, often going in blind, trying to find the queen bee and put her in a temporary hive – a cardboard box with holes – and waiting for the swarmto follow their queen before transporting them home in his car.
Sometimes he couldn’t catch the queen so he ordered in extra queen bees to help to attract the swarm away.
A spokesman for DP World said they believe around 40,000 bees made the site their home, adding: “The swarms cannot have been here too long – perhaps about a month, and they have been moved because the numbers just grew and grew until it became impossible for the workers to use the cranes.”
Staff are now getting plenty of honey to spread on their morning toast as the bees have produced more than 5lb of pure dockside honey.
The spokesman added: “The honey tastes lovely and is really sweet. It’s very runny and clear so appears to be in its purest form. We have all enjoyed eating it on toast.”