bees on hive - pollenize cic

How did Pollenize CIC begin?

Pollenize CIC is a social enterprise set up by Matthew Elmes and Owen Finnie in March 2018. The project was started because of a joint interest in bees and both suffering from hay fever; it is said that consuming local honey can help ease the effects of hay fever.

Having been unable to find a local beekeeper, they researched getting their own beehive. After successfully securing a £1500 start-up grant from B2 Enterprise, Pollenize was created. Since then Pollenize have created a network of Apiaries and created ways to include the public in the project.

What does Pollenize CIC do?

  • Harnesses the power of community and technology to reverse pollinator decline
  • Keeps bees in interesting locations and iconic buildings across Plymouth
  • Links their hives to digital clouds with remote hive sensors to manage and maintain the health of the pollinators
  • Analyses the honey and pollen to better understand the local forage and inform climate resilient planting
  • Offers the chance to experience bee hive inspections to the general public.

pollenize - beehives with keeper

Support from The Bridge

Pollenize connected with The Bridge after working with the University of Plymouth’s Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab. The Bridge helped Pollenize learn about support available through SWCTN Development grants, which Pollenize successfully secured. Then through SWCTN funding, Pollenize were able to develop a research infrastructure network that harnessed sensors, image recognition machine learning and molecular techniques to further understand the foraging behaviour of honey bees as biosensors and to understand the health of the environment from an end-user perspective.

SWTCN development grants

The University of Plymouth, as part of the South West Creative Technology Network, offered three Immersion Development Grants with a goal to support research and development under the themes of SWTCN and to strengthen relationships with the local network. The grants offered successful applicants the opportunity to complete a piece of work or research that addresses a pressing issue or opportunity around creative technology.

Social and environmental impact

Dedicated to conserving pollinators and their environment. Pollenize CIC have created a network of 10 apiaries across Plymouth stocked with native European honeybees. They keep the bees on commercial buildings, not only supporting the conservation of the bees, but providing the building owners with corporate and social responsibility value.

Some of the ways that the public are involved with this project include the membership opportunities Pollenize offer. As a member you are offered access to the beehives on certain dates and a share of the honey from the hives, ensuring the method of beekeeping is highly sustainable.

They also integrate with the online Pollenize seed map by creating seed packets and linking the sowing locations of these seed packets to the seed map. Ensuring that only the best seeds are picked is crucial for the Pollenize team to benefit the greatest number of pollinators, bees, moths, butterflies and hoverflies.

The Future of Pollenize CIC

In the near future, Pollenize will be using AI cameras to look at bee behaviour, particularly the ‘waggle dance’. The ‘waggle dance’ is the method a scout bee uses after returning from an area of good forage to show other bees the location of the forage. Pollenize CIC hope to be able to plot the co-ordinates from these ‘waggle dances’ onto a map. They also work to figure out the number of bees that travel in and out of each hive per day to work out frequencies, figure out when the bees were most active and how many die out in the field.

Pollenize CIC have previously completed a crowdfunder with hopes to equip every school child in Plymouth with a packet of seeds, promoting conservation from a young age, and upload their sowing locations on the seed map.

After recently receiving funding to extend their project to Cornwall, the Pollenize team plan to manufacture the beehives, get permissions, scope out beehive locations and set up around Cornwall next year.

pollenize - beehive