There’s a buzz about Rockliffe Hall, as the award-winning hotel, golf and spa resort in Hurworth, near Darlington, welcomes 20,000 new long-term residents – two hives of bees.
Rockliffe’s head gardener, Phil Mennell, has attended a special bee-keeping course and is looking after the new Rockliffe recruits, who it’s hoped will soon be producing delicious honey to be served on resort.
In the short time Phil has been looking after the Buckfast bees he’s become an avid beekeeper and is rapidly learning about these fascinating creatures. He’s checking them once a week while they continue to settle in to their new surroundings in a secret part of the resort so they aren’t disturbed.
In time, the bees will also help pollenate the Walled Kitchen Garden in the Mischmasch multi-functional parkland development, due to open at the end of Summer 2017.
Some fun bee facts:
Bees cannot see the colour red (but visit red flowers because they are able to see the UV markings on the petals).
Bees have five eyes – 3 simple eyes on top of the head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets.
There are about 25,000 known species of bee in the world.
The largest bee in the world is thought to be Megachile pluto – a leafcutter bee whose females can grow as long as 3.9cm.
The smallest bee in the world is believed to be Trigona minima – a stingless bee whose workers are about 2.1mm long.