The roof of a shopping centre in Exeter has become home to 10,000 honeybees.
The decline of the honey bee has been well-documented in the UK and projects like this one in Exeter will play an important part in maintaining numbers of this troubled species.
Bee-friendly plants and features have been installed on top of the Princesshay Centre, consisting of raised beds and an irrigation system to ensure the plants thrive.
Centre operations manager Andrew Littlejohns said he thought of the idea after watching a programme about the honeybee’s demise.
He said turning the idea of housing city bees into a reality was a “really exciting project”. He also hopes that more hives would be set up on the roof by the end of 2014.
Staff have been invited to train as beekeepers to help manage the project.
Jason Wallis, of WeeTree Nurseries, which has provided training sessions, said “The environment created by Princesshay on their sheltered rooftop is fantastic, the first colony of bees has settled in well and we’re ready now to help establish the second colony in their new hive.”
to read tips on making your garden wildlife-friendly, including how to help bees.