The Parliament will today (18 June) become a hive of activity when it welcomes its newest arrivals on site - honey bees.
The Scottish Parliament became the first legislature in the UK to have beehives when two were installed earlier this year. The bees are now ready for their new homes.
Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP said:
“The Scottish Parliament has welcomed many guests and visitors but there has been a special buzz around the bees.
“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.”
Paul Holmes, Chair of Kelvin Valley Honey said:
“Being the first of the UK’s four legislatures to welcome honey bees into its midst shows remarkable foresight and demonstrates in very real and practical ways the Scottish Parliament’s commitment to the nation’s environment.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Scotland’s law makers to observe at first hand the work of these amazing insects and the vital contributions that they make to our everyday lives, the environment and Scotland’s economy.
“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.”
Ironically, the variety of bee at the Parliament will be the Buckfast Bee which is known for its calm temperament and productivity.
Mr Holmes added:
“People may well think the association is quite funny but it is a great variety. The bees are calm, acclimatized to the Scottish climate and are prolific honey producers and will be a very welcome addition at Holyrood.”
Kelvin Valley Honey is an initiative of Kilsyth Community Market Garden a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable aims owned and managed by residents of the Upper Kelvin Valley.
The project was born out of people's concerns about the dramatic decline in the area's honey bee population in recent years and the negative impact this has on crop, wildlife and certain woodland trees pollination.
The beehives will be managed and maintained by Kelvin Valley Honey at no cost to the Scottish Parliament.