Check out some of the innovative projects we've recently worked on
Chilli honey by Nando's 'Macho bees'
St Pauls Way Trust School social Enterprise
Our work with the 'Golden Company'
Our Work With TCES schools special educational needs children
Chilli Honey by Macho Bees
In early spring 2015 we began a relationship with Nando’s peri peri chicken restaurant chain.
Nando’s as a company have strong environmental ethics and care a great deal about the environment and the impacts their business has on it. Already a member of the sustainable restaurant association and having made huge strides in their attempts to become one of the greenest eating establishments in the Country, Nando’s now wanted to turn their attention to helping our struggling bees.
The main ingredients in Nando’s dishes are all reliant upon bees for pollination in their production.
• Their high welfare Chicken is raised on a diet rich in legumes requiring pollination by bees
• Chillies, Tomatoes & other ingredients in their marinades are reliant on bees for pollination
• Many of the herbs and spices used in their kitchens require pollination by bees
• Many of their side dishes include vegetables (Tomato, Onion, Squash, Courgette and nuts) which are reliant on bees for their production
Recognising the contribution bees make to their business Nando’s wanted to give something back to the bees but needed advice and guidance on how to go about this.
Initially believing that the easiest way to help bees was to install hives on their restaurant roof tops we pointed out that in a city like London (where hive numbers have tripled in the past 7 years to over 5000 colonies) pumping more bees into an already heavily populated area with limited flower resources did not make ecological sense.
Rather than install hives throughout the city on their premises Nando’s opted to install a hive at their head offices in Putney and in addition to this we encouraged them to support bees in other ways through the planting of forage and supporting research into urban honey bees.
Nando’s accepted this suggestion freely and so we connected them with the London Beekeepers Association. In March 2015 25 staff from Nando's Head office alongside volunteers from LBKA helped to plant flowers funded by Nando’s in the grounds of Eden Community Garden and St Pauls Church, Clapham Old Town.
A large selection of flowers were planted with a focus on late season flowering varieties to provide nectar and pollen during the summer dearth.
Species planted were those attractive to both honey bees and wild pollinators. Our choice of plants was based on the most recent peer reviewed research into which garden variety plants are most attractive to bees in late summer. This research was carried out at Sussex University and at the Roseybee trial garden.
Plug and pot grown plants were supplied by Roseybee nursery, FlowerScapes and Palmstead.
By August the gardens were full of beautiful flowers and the gardeners reported back that they had seen an increase in the numbers of bees using the gardens since the planting took place.
Meanwhile at Nando’s HQ after a thorough risk assessment of their roof terrace and a detailed assessment of the forage potential of the location an Apicultural hive was installed at their head offices in late April.
Close to several of Wandsworth’s larger commons, the Thames Corridor and London Wetland Centre the bees were surrounded with ample forage and between April and July they had filled and ripened 5 supers of liquid honey and produced a super of comb honey for harvesting.
We make weekly visits to the bees from April to August to ensure the bees remain healthy, do not swarm and cause a nuisance to Nando’s or their neighbours. In June the seasonal Bee Inspector visited the apiary and gave our bees a clean bill of health commenting that they were some of the healthiest and most productive bees he had inspected that season.
The honey was harvested in late July and August and after being spun and cold filtered the honey was poured into large storage tanks.
The honey was then infused with Chillies at the Nando’s test kitchens where it will be used to trial new recipe and dishes Nando’s may add to their menu.
A limited edition 100 jars was also produced and given as gifts to staff who helped with the planting event and to corporate clients and suppliers.
In 2016 we reared a second colony from the Nando's bees and by the end of the season we had 2 very large, healthy colonies which produced 10 supers between them, 7 boxes of honey coming from the parent colony.
200 jars of the 2016 honey were specially packaged in Nando's branded jars and given away as gifts to staff, corporate clients and suppliers. In 2016 we also reclaimed bees wax from the hives which has been made into lip balms and distributed to staff at the head office.
In 2016 we also introduced a 'hygienic' Queen bee to one of our Nando's colonies. These bees are specially bred for their high degree of hygienic behaviour and resistance to common bee diseases and disorders. We hope to breed from this queen and spread her hygienic genes among our other colonies improving upon the bees natural resistance to disease, improving bee health and reducing the need for Chemical treatments for Varroa Mites. This is as close to organic beekeeping as one can realistically get in London.
Since beginning this partnership we have introduced Nando’s to the British Bee keepers Association with a view to replicate this success elsewhere across the UK linking with county beekeeping associations and local artisan beekeepers.
Above: Nando's staff plant Eden Community Garden in Clapham
Above: The finished product; Nando's limited edition Chilli Honey made by the restaurants 'macho' bees.
Above: our hive on the Nando's roof top.
Above: Mark inspects the Nando's bees.
St Paul's Way Trust Enterprise
St Paul's way Trust Enterprise is an entrepreneurial branch of the St Paul's Way Trust High School in Tower Hamlets, East London.
The department works with gifted young people to develop business skills and expand their employment horizons when they graduate from high school.
In Autumn 2015 we worked with them to develop an exciting bee keeping project within the school.
We sourced honey in bulk from London producers and worked with the young people to cold filter the honey, jar and brand the finished product.
We did this through a series of extraction workshops and a branding design workshop, during which the young people learnt about the requirements of honey labelling and basic design concepts of honey packaging.
The final products were sold at the pupils sales stall at the world famous Borough Market, St Katherine's Dock and at school fates.
We delivered a theory course on bee keeping over the winter months which is to be followed by the installing of hives in late April or May 2016. Pupils will be involved in weekly hive inspections to care for the bees.
Several departments will be involved in the keeping of bees at the school from the design and technology dept. building the hives, science dept. studying the bees biology and chemistry of soap making to the home economics dept. which will use the honey in cooking.
The aim of the project is to inspire the young people with business ideas and teach them business skills which will benefit them in their adult lives.
In future the school hopes to create its own brand of natural beeswax cosmetics.
The students achievements were showcased at a celebrating enterprise event hosted by the project sponsor JP Morgan on the 3rd March. Students presented their projects and achievements to an audience of JP Morgan directors, business leaders and entrepreneurs.
For updates on this and other projects follow our Twitter feed @apiculturalLdn
Above: St Paul's Way Trust pupils man their Borough Market honey stall
Above: Customers line up to buy the students honey
Above: Customers trying before buying. Honey tasting was one of the sales tactics the students employed to encourage potential customers to buy their products.
Our work with the Golden Company
In March 2016 we began working with the 'Golden Company' a social enterprise which works with disadvantaged young people 16-21 years old and provides them with training, education and routes into employment.
The Golden Company uses bees and beekeeping to nurture young people's hidden talents and provide them with valuable work experience leading to routes into employment. At the same time Golden Co. use their bees located at their corporate sponsors sites to engage corporate staff, educating them about bees and how we can all help improve the London environment for them.
Apicultural have been managing hives for the Golden Company at their sites throughout the city including the EU Headquarters of the National Bank of Japan NOMURA, London Stock Exchange and Law Firm Lewis Silkin. We work with a Golden Co. apprentice each Friday May to September visiting the corporate apiaries to inspect the bees accompanied by a small group of staff who attend to gain a taste of beekeeping and learn about the bees environmental requirements.
Apicultural has also held honey extraction, Honey Tasting and candle making workshops and demonstrations for Golden Co. clients as well as advising them on planting for bees on their premises roof gardens and roof terraces.
Honey Harvested from the Golden Co. hives is processed by the apprentices who have a regular stall at Borough Market where they promote and sell their honey along side other sustainable products.
You can learn more about the fantastic Golden Co. by visiting their website http://www.thegolden.co/ or follow them on Twitter @thegoldenco
Below you can view a 360 degree virtual in-hive experience of a Golden Co. hive filmed using the latest VR technology.
Above: Staff at Nomura visit the bees and below: the Nomura green roof home to the Golden Co. hives
Below: the Golden Co pop up stall makes an appearance at the staff canteen at Nomura International.
Below: Golden Co. hives at Chancery Lane
Our work with TCES schools special educational needs children.
TCES is a chain of independent schools catering for hard to reach pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). For many of its pupils the schools offer a 'last chance' at a high school education for young people who otherwise struggle in a mainstream school environment.
We began by working with a single student at TCES North West London Independent School in May 2016 and now deliver 3 sessions each week to 3 different groups of students which includes 1-2-1 learning.
Our experienced practitioner Mark Patterson uses a variety of outdoor activities to teach students core curriculum subjects in an alternative setting. Activities introduced to the students have included bee keeping, poultry keeping, producing natural cosmetics using plant oils and bees wax harvested from hives the pupils have cared for, vegetable growing and harvesting, wood work and Nature conservation.
Through these sessions students have learnt about plant and animal growth and development, pollination, gained a better understanding and appreciation of their natural environment and learnt woodwork and DIY skills all whilst utilising elements of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, mathematics, Information Technology and design.
These sessions take place in small groups or 1-2-1 in a tranquil community garden setting away from the school. Students taking part in the program have gained a sense of achievement having made and marketed their own products, demonstrated improved confidence in their abilities, as well as improvements in their behaviour and attention span.
Our hatching egg incubation project in the school enables all the schools students to participate and benefit in learning about animal growth, development and the welfare needs of living things.
In 2017 we plan to bring in additional practitioners to deliver 'forest Schools' to some of their students and branch out to other campuses.
In early 2017 TCES North West London School received an outstanding OFSTED inspection report and our work with the pupils was credited towards the success of the school and its innovative methods of engaging with hard to reach young people.
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