Buckfast bees move in to Scottish Parliament

Buckfast bees have taken up residence at Holyrood.

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick holds a honeycomb of the Buckfast variety of bee. Picture: PA

The Scottish Parliament became the first legislature in the UK to have beehives when two were installed earlier this year, and now their residents have moved in.

The Buckfast variety of bee, which shares its name with the tonic wine, is known for its calm temperament and productivity.

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Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: “Since we announced we would become the first parliament in the UK to have its own beehives, the enthusiasm and level of interest from members, staff and visitors has been astonishing.

“We are looking forward to trying the first batch of honey which will hopefully be ready later this year.”

The installation of the hives came amid growing concern about the dramatic decline in Edinburgh’s honey bee population. The insects are responsible for over half of the annual pollination of all crops, produce, fruits and trees in Scotland.

The beehives will be managed and maintained by Kelvin Valley Honey, and chair Paul Holmes said: “Having honey bees at its heart not only benefits the parliament but, through increased levels of pollination, also benefits the wider Edinburgh environment, most especially the city’s green spaces, parks and gardens by as much as two-and-a-half miles around it.

“People may well think the [Buckfast] association is quite funny but it is a great variety. The bees are calm, acclimatised to the Scottish climate and are prolific honey producers, and will be a very welcome addition at Holyrood.”