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Home sweet home for honey bees! ORGANIC GARDENING: New hives will be sanctuary for more than 200,000 insects.

Byline: By Marc Meneaud

HONEY bees will be causing a buzz at a Warwickshire garden centre when more than 200,000 swarm into their new home today.

Fears have been growing that bee populations are dwindling nationally because of changes in farming methods, deadly viruses and mobile phone signals interfering with their ability to find their way back to their hives.

But beekeeping experts at Garden Organic Ryton in Wolston Lane, near Coventry, have done their bit to save the humble bee by building them a new home.

The garden's beehive complex includes six hives in a purposebuilt wooden apiary.

Beekeepers from the organic gardens will look after the honey bees and teach the public more about how the winged insects live and how to look after them.

Visitors will be able to learn the latest techniques in beekeeping, in particular, how to protect them for the parasite varroa, which has been blamed for their decline.

The new apiary will be officially opened today by members of the Coventry branch of the Warwickshire Beekeepers Association, which is celebrating 75 years of beekeeping in the area.

Peter Spencer, chairman of Warwickshire Beekeepers Coventry branch, said: "Bees are such wonderful insects.

"There are so many interesting facets to beekeeping be it their lifecycle, communication, the practical side of keeping hives or their honey.

"This cabin will be used as a teaching apiary, using the latest techniques for controlling varroa. It has been a terrific team effort and we really appreciate all the help and support that Garden Organic have given us."

Garden Organic's head gardener Katie Tippens, said: "We are really pleased to welcome the bees into their new home at this critical time.

"Organic gardening is all about working with nature and encouraging beneficial insects like bees, which help our plants to thrive, so it's important that we act to protect this vital species.

"It also provides a wonderful opportunity for people to find out more about beekeeping."

For more information, visit www.gardenorganic. org.uk or call 024 7630 3517.

CAPTION(S):

DJ0706073 EXCITED.. Peter Spencer, chairman of the Coventry branch of the Warwickshire Beekeepers' Association, hails the new apiary as 'a great team effort.' Pictures: Joe Bailey; DJ070607BEES6 BEES ON THE MOVE... Beekeepers Maurice Buer and Peter Spencer tend the hives wearing protective clothing.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 9, 2007
Words:385
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