As featured on BBC Spring Watch
We are very please to be working with At-Bristol and Bristol University on this unique study. We're looking at how different factors like weather, humidity and pollution levels effect honeybees in a city hive (On the roof of At-Bristol) and a countryside hive (Langford). One fantastic outcome of this project is us being able to tweet from each hive!
Below is a short introduction to the project and the live feeds from both our city hive and country hive!
Tuesday 31 May | Jennifer Garrett (Original post on the At-Bristol website)
At-Bristol Science Centre, one of the UK’s leading interactive science centres, has created the world’s first live tweeting honeybees (@citybeehive and @countrybeehive) in a joint initiative with BeeBristol and scientists from the University of Bristol that aims to engage people with the lives of the bees through innovative use of technology and social media.
The science centre’s green roof became home to an urban beehive in July 2015, which is tended to by At-Bristol staff specially trained by BeeBristol. Now that the hive is established, it has been fitted with scientific equipment to capture data on bee behaviour, air quality and weather, which will be compared with a rural hive in Langford 14 miles south of Bristol. Both Twitter feeds @citybeehive and @countrybeehive and will tweet in character about their daily activity, which will be triggered by live data collected and analysed as part of the scientific research looking at the impact of city living on honeybee colonies. It is predicted that human activity will have an effect on urban bees as a result of 7 day cycles in air quality, due to pollution caused by Monday–Friday commuter traffic.
Since 28 May visitors to At-Bristol have been able to take part in Live from the Hive through a new exhibit in an indoor greenhouse in the Food! exhibition. The exhibit enables visitors to compare the behaviour of the two bee colonies in real time using live webcam images of the bees, interactive graphs using live data including ‘bees per minute’, air quality, weather, and the latest tweets from the both of the beehives. Live from the Hive is also accessible online from the At-Bristol website.
Live images from inside At-Bristol’s beehive will be featured on the popular BBC programme Springwatch, running from 30 May for three weeks. Big Screen Bristol will also be showing live images of the hives at regular intervals throughout the project, and on 1 June DreamWorks Animation’s Bee Movie will be screened for free in Millennium Square to celebrate the launch of the project. During half term (until 5 June) a ‘Feed the Bees’ activity is also running in the greenhouse, where you can take home a sweet treat for our fuzzy friends.
Chris Dunford, At-Bristol’s Sustainability Engagement Manager said: “We are delighted to be launching Live from the Hive! We are committed to becoming the most sustainable science centre in the UK, and part of that work involves supporting pollinators, so we are very proud to use our hive in academic research. We hope that everyone will enjoy following the lives of our bees and learning more about how city life effects them.”
Founder and Director of BeeBristol, Tim Barsby added: "Live from the Hive is an important, unique and visionary experiment pioneering an interactive and engaging experience that connects people with nature. Thanks to attentive beekeeping we have nurtured a healthy colony of urban bees on the roof of At-Bristol, so we are very excited to see the results and start tweeting!"
Dr Dominic Clarke, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Sensory Biophysics at the University of Bristol also said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to share science with the public as it happens. Maybe someone out there will spot something interesting in our data before we do!”
At-Bristol has reduced its energy consumption by 27% in the last 5 years, and currently holds a range of green awards including a Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award, Soil Association Food for Life Gold Catering Mark, and previously won the Bristol Tourism and Hospitality Awards for sustainable tourism and bronze Sustainable Tourism Award at the VisitEngland Awards. During last year’s important year for Bristol, At-Bristol continued its focus on community and city initiatives; playing host to the ‘Energy Tree’, the Bristol Whales and the Tap into Bristol free water fountain outside on Millennium Square, all part of the European Green Capital project.
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A Honeycomb Meadow instantly covers the grey expanse of any open space with flowers, trees or shrubs, which provide food for bees and butterflies. Grown in interlocking hexagonal planters, a
Honeycomb Meadow highlights the relationship between honeybees, their hives and their food supply. Feed the bees that feed us!
Developed by Bee Bristol the Honeycomb Meadow was Designed by River of Flowers, a non profit, social enterprise company working in partnership to link urban wild spaces with trails or ‘rivers’ of wildflowers to create safe routes through cities for bees and other pollinators.
In association with Urban Bees, a company promoting sustainable and responsible urban beekeeping and helping to transform urban landscapes for the benefit of wild and honeybees.
Street artist ATM created this beautiful honeybee in a collaborative project between BeeBristol and Human Nature. The bee is designed to help raise awareness of the decline in pollinators which is one of BeeBristol's primary goals. Using art to connect nature to the public is a spectacular way of engaging new interest and we hope to complete two more pieces using two different species of pollinator! Watch this space!
The Human Nature art show sprung up in London last year to bring a new perspective to our relationship with nature. The launch night saw hundreds of visitors enjoy sculpture, photography, painting and street art exploring the importance of our interaction with the natural world. A unique event, with three further shows planned for 2015 in Leeds, Bristol and returning to London, the show is now spreading to the streets to benefit artists and city dwellers alike.
A huge thank you to our sponsors for this piece who without, it would not have been possible...
Cheo is a Bristol street artist who's been contributing to the diversity and breadth of Bristols streets sinse 1984. Have a look at a few examples from across the city, click to enlarge...
You may recognise his signature 'bee' and 'a bee is for life, not just for Christmas' campaign. What better person would there be to design our BeeBristol family!
Thank you Cheo for your brilliant contribution to BeeBristol, we are very pleased to have worked with you and know that the BeeBristol family will live on. Helping us to raise awareness and reverse the decline in pollinators for years to come.
If you would like to find out more about Cheo or commission one of his works, please visit: www.cheo.co.uk
Come and join us as a volunteer! Give as much or as little time as you can, it's fun, great for meeting people and you get a guaranteed feel good factor! The other great thing you can do to help bees is to buy local honey, plant wildflower in your garden and even build your very own bee hotel!
Organise a BeeBristol event! If you have a public space that is suitable for a wildflower meadow and would like to inquire, please do get in touch. Likewise, if you have a community event and would like us to come along with a beekeeper and observation hive to inspire your community, then get in touch.
If your business would like to sponsor an event, activity, hive or wants to help fund BeeBristol, please contact us through the form at the bottom of our donations page.