The exclusive precincts of Newnham College, Cambridge, have gained some new residents – in the shape of a colony of honeybees.
Lottie Collis, head gardener at the women’s college, bought a nucleus of bees after a donation was received by an alumnae group.
A trained beekeeper, Collis is also a member the Cambridgeshire Beekeepers’ Association (CBKA) and also picks up and relocates swarms of bees for members of the public in and around Cambridge.
Bees were kept at Newnham during the Second World War, but this is the first time they have returned en masse since 1945.
Collis said: ‘Bees pollinate everything and unfortunately they are in decline. As they are such a vital part of our eco-system, I thought it was important that we brought a colony back to Newnham College.’
She added: ‘Everyone should consider keeping bees in their gardens if they can; the CBKA runs courses for people interested in becoming beekeepers.’
The first batch of honey from the new beehive was enjoyed by staff and fellows at a recent summer garden party at the college.
And Collis credits the bees for helping the students grow vegetables in the new allotments which have also been created at the college this year.
She said: ‘The bees pollinated the flowers on the crops of beans, apples and plums and gave us a bumper yield.’