Two bees demonstrating 'trophallaxis' - sharing hive pheromones with the mouthparts.
Populations of honeybees are in decline in the UK and around the world. The apiary on campus provides the opportunity to support and study the local variety of honeybee as part of our push for sustainability and conservation within the South West. 
Without insect pollination, about one third of the crops we eat would need to be pollinated by other means, at great expense. Bees are the predominant and most economically important group of pollinators in most agriculturally significant regions.

Why we wanted to install beehives with the British Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) at the University of Plymouth:

  • Bees pollinate around one third of the food we eat and 80 per cent of flowering plants.
  • The University has its own apiary on campus, made up of two bee hives managed by dedicated volunteers. The hives are home to native black honey bees, whose population has previously come near extinction, but which are better adapted to UK climate than the Southern European honeybee species used by many beekeepers.
  • We wanted to install beehives with the native honey bee, the Black Bee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera) at the University of Plymouth as the bees contribute to biodiversity.
Student and staff volunteers take part in weekly beekeeping inspections (March – October).
Honeybees.  (One of series of c.100 drawings made at labs in School of Biomedical sciences, University of Plymouth.)
Image above: Detail of Honeybees from Melissographia by Amy Shelton.
What do I do if I see a swarm?
The University of Plymouth group do not deal with swarms. If you see a bee swarm, you can contact some of the numbers on the page linked below for assistance.