Vandals burn thousands of bees to death at Hopwood Hall College in Middleton
Date published: 05 January 2018
Peter's hives before the attack
Thousands of bees have been burned to death after vandals destroyed a number of hives at the Middleton Campus of Hopwood Hall College.
Bee keepers Jack Turner and Peter Killcommons discovered the carnage after they went to check on their hives. One hive had been heartlessly torched, and around a dozen ripped and carelessly discarded into a nearby valley.
Bees are imperative for pollinating crops, and it is estimated they are responsible for producing around one third of our harvests. However, in recent decades, the bee population has been in serious decline, making this act of vandalism even more troublesome.
Jack and Peter attempted to salvage the remaining hives, and tried to save any living bees. It is not yet known if the queen bee, the fate of whom the entire colony falls on, has survived.
Queen bees are vital to a colony because they are the only one capable of laying fertilised eggs, which may become one of many worker bees, or a queen bee.
A queen is made by feeding royal jelly to a young worker bee larvae, meaning any young larvae could become the next queen. However, there is a very short window of time for a new queen to be made.
A spokesperson for the college said: “Everybody at Hopwood Hall College is really disappointed to hear what has happened to Peter’s bee hives; he has been an enormous help at the college.
“After we had an outburst of bee infestations in many of our Middleton campus’ buildings, Peter very generously offered to help solve the problem humanely by moving the bees into hives.
“Since then, Peter has helped educate staff and students on bee keeping and the benefits they bring to our environment.
“We are now looking to help Peter rebuild his bee hives in any way we can.”