Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
12:00 AM 18th May 2024

Ten Years Abuzz: Celebrating A Decade Of Bees At White Rose

Ahead of National Bee Day (20th May), White Rose Shopping Centre is celebrating its tenth year of being home to a bee community – upwards of 500,000 bees live in hives on the centre’s roof.

White Rose’s bees are buzzing with activity once again this summer, producing excess honey which on-site bee aficionado Luke Wilson has jarred for winners of the centre’s recent Community Awards.

Honoured with a Community Award himself for his commitment to the hives, Luke works with experienced local beekeeper Keith Dobson to maintain the half a million rooftop bees, even breeding their own colony in the hives there.

Donning his protective beekeeping suit, Luke, who began his career at White Rose in the Environmental Team, visits the bees once a week during the summer and once a month during their winter hibernation, ensuring the bees are at optimum health and the colonies are thriving.

Alongside the centre team, Luke regularly hosts visits from local schools and community groups to help them understand the importance of bees as pollinators of our local habitat.

Luke Wilson, Environmental Team Leader at White Rose, said:
“Bees are such interesting, vital creatures and it’s been a pleasure to learn more about them and care for them at White Rose.

“Bees have been in decline in the UK for a long time, so we’re proud to do our bit to protect them and support our Leeds crops and wildflowers. We’re also hoping that our White Rose Honey will be an award-winner at the local competitions once again this year!”

Steven Foster, Centre Director at White Rose, added:
“Many people are surprised to learn we’ve got such active colonies of bees right here at White Rose, but we’ve put a lot of effort into supporting their growth and we’re pleased to see them thrive. Bees not only pollinate our beautiful local trees and flowers, but also food crops and livestock feeds, so the health of our ecosystem relies on them.

“Bees will often abandon a hive en masse if they’re not happy, so marking ten years of our White Rose hives is a testament to Luke and Keith’s hard work. Here’s to future years of even more bees to help support our local environment.”