Aggregate Industries has added a large group of new “workers” to its team at Greystone Quarry in Cornwall – a family of bees!
The hives that now sit alongside the quarry near Launceston are the workforce’s own very individual contribution to the company’s wider biodiversity effort. It came about as a result of the distribution of honey from another colony nearby and a discussion about the alarming decline in honey bees over recent years.
Recognising that their site has plenty of suitable land, they not just established hives but used a restored tip to establish species-rich neutral grassland as a source of pollen and nectar. They have also sown nectar-rich wildflower seeds and translocated wild primroses from a new working area.
Quarry manager Anthony Allday has added “head beekeeper” to his weekly responsibilities and has attended courses to enable him to look after the bees. The time commitment is, he says not a big one.
Now well established, the colony has generated some 30 pounds of honey in its first season. It is being harvested and processed by a local community interest company. Some will be shared amongst the workforce and some sold for charity.
Anthony hopes other quarries will follow their lead.