Animals

Military Driving School Becomes Home To 120,000 Bees

The hope is the insects' hive will offset the hydrocarbon footprint left by the driving school.

A delivery of 120,000 VI bees has arrived at a military driving school in East Yorkshire.

The Defence School of Transport in East Yorkshire came up with the new venture in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

Around 10,000 members of the military pass out through the driver training school each year, with the site creating pollution as a result of its work, and is keen to offset this in whatever way it can.

The bees' hive will be based in a bomb bunker at the school.

"One of the things that we do at the Defence School of Transport is consume fuel, about 1.6 million pounds worth of diesel every year," said Colonel Chris Henson, Commandant at Defence School of Transport.

"So, we’re very aware that our carbon footprint's quite high – it has to be in order to deliver what we deliver and this is one small way of offsetting that hydrocarbon footprint."

It was down to Stuart Brown and Tracey Packer of Beverley Bees to ensure delivery of the bees went smoothly.

It is thought, if one bee stings you it emits a pheromone that smells like bubblegum and tells all the other bees to come and sting you too.

Tracey told Forces News what she thinks of the venture. "It’s interesting because it’s a military site – we’re in a bomb bunker – so it’s a bit of a juxtaposition

"I think [the bees will] really enjoy being here."

The 120,000 VI bees get used to their new hive at the Defence School of Transport, East Yorkshire.

"The worker bees will realise there has been disruption," said Beverley Bees' Stuart Brown.

"They will start to fan the pheromones the queen emits, and that will attract the bees that are outside the hive."

There are different kind of bees in the hive and they have different jobs to do.

"From when a bee first hatches out, it becomes a nurse bee, and it looks after the other emerging bees, makes sure they’re fed and tended, and they live in the hive for a few weeks," said Tracey.

"They transition into flying bees and they go out and they start to forage, and they bring back nectar and pollen.

"All of the bees are female at that stage.

"Then there’s the queen and when the queen first hatches out, she goes out with some drones – they’re male bees – and becomes mated. She comes back to the hive and she stays in the hive for the rest of life, but she’ll just be the laying machine.

"The other bees affect how much she lays. They will either feed her so she lays well or if they realise they need less bees, they will hold back on feeding.

"When the queen lays an egg she can determine whether to fertilise it.

"If she fertilises it, it becomes a female bee and if she doesn’t it becomes a drone bee – the drones are the males.

"The drones stay in the hive, they don’t go and get nectar.

"They just are there to join drone crowds and to mate with emerging queens, and towards the end of the summer they get pushed out of the hive by the rest of the females as their job is done."