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Ribble Valley five-star hotel is ‘the bees knees’

2012.06.29. 09:03 Aurora1

A FIVE-star hotel especially for bees has been opened in the Ribble Valley.

Stirk House, in Gisburn, is providing special facilities to help give declining bee numbers a big boost.

The initiative, part of efforts by the hotel’s owner Paul Caddy to highlight the plight of the bee, also includes projects to protect other species, like the planting of more than 5,000 indigenous trees.

Mr Caddy said: “Bees are the unsung heroes of the food chain. Most fresh fruit and vegetables depend on bees for pollination.

“Our new bee hotel is designed to provide the perfect habitat for some important wild bee varieties, allowing the friendly insects to check in and make their homes.

“We hope that by opening our bee hotel we’ll be able to help rejuvenate the local bee population, and ensure our allotments continue to supply the hotel restaurant with lots of fresh, locally-grown produce.”

Of the 250 species of bee found in the British countryside, there is a specialist group which nests in small cavities.

But changes in land management and agriculture mean these cavity-nesting bees often struggle to find enough places to nest.

Man-made bee hotels can provide a suitable alternative, giving them nesting sites to start the next generation of bees.

Mr Caddy said: “We recognise that. if we are to continue to source fresh local produce in the long term, we are going to have to look at protecting our wildlife, and do our bit to help solve the problem.”

Phil Ainsworth, from the Blackburn and East Lancashire Beekeepers’ Association, said he hoped the hotel would help give the bee population in the region a boost.

He said: “Anything that helps promote bees and gives the public information about them can only be very good. We definitely need these things and we also need a multi-pronged approach to help bees.

“Areas where bees can go and be looked after are very important for their long-term future.”

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