Princesshay City Bee Project
Princesshay’s City Bee project began in 2012, when a tranquil rooftop garden was created for honey bees high above the shopping centre as part of an environmental initiative which forms part of the company’s wider biodiversity strategy.
Now entering its 4th year, Princesshay’s city bee project continues to grow, with the project now housing 5 hives with approximately 100,000 bees. Honey that is harvested from Princesshay’s city bee project is sold in Chandos Deli, located in Roman Walk with all proceeds donated to Princesshay’s Charity of the Year, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.
The initial City Bee’s concept was investigated by Andy Littlejohns, Princesshay’s operations manager after watching a television programme on the decline of the honey bee and the impact on the environment.
Andy said, “It has been brilliant to see the project come to life over the past 4 years and we have loved the opportunity to introduce schools and the public to our wonderful hidden bee garden on the roof. It is an exciting environmental initiative, one which is very close to my heart and it is fantastic to see it go from strength to strength.”
Princesshay’s City Bee project has achieved a massive 90% success rate with its Queen Bee rearing programme with 4 Queen Bees taking to the apiary, situated in the rooftop garden. At the end of May 2016 Princesshay bee keeper, Jason Wallis of WeeTree Nurseries introduced the new queens to the current hives.
Jason Wallis said, “The aim of the new Queen Bee rearing programme was to introduce new healthy queens to the current hives for the season ahead to ensure the hives were as pro
ductive as possible. We are really pleased with how the rearing programme is going so far. It really is a great result.”
Princesshay also launched a new observation hive during the summer, offering visitors and school groups the opportunity to see the activity inside the hive through glass panels. Princesshay regularly encourage visitors to visit the project and get an insight into the busy world of bees. To date, the city bee project has been visited by over 1000 school children, students and members of the public.
If you would like to volunteer to be a Princesshay beekeeper please contact our centre management team on 01392 459838.
In September 2016, Princesshay unveiled a new piece of commissioned public art by Exeter based artist Amy Shelton. The Princesshay Honey Flow light box is situated in Bampfylde Lane, opposite Princesshay’s customer service office.
The Princesshay Honey Flow light box by nationally renowned, local artist Amy Shelton, is a bespoke, specially commissioned public artwork which showcases the plants most
important to the Princesshay honey bees collecting pollen and nectar across Exeter, from the first flowers of spring right through the seasons. Visitors to the light box will be able to see the city from a bee’s perspective!
Find out more by watching this short film.