Page last updated at 19:14 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 20:14 UK

Bees use bridges in daily commute

Black british bees
The colony is so productive there are plans to increase bee numbers

A colony of bees brought in to produce honey for a city centre department store are using bridges to fly from the shop to find pollen crops.

Hives of black British bees have been set up on the roof of Fenwick's in Newcastle.

The bees collect nectar from flowers up to three miles away in all directions, including over the river in Gateshead.

Beekeeper Ian Wallace said that as bees do not like to fly across water, they would be flying across the bridges.

The honey is processed in the store for sale in its delicatessen, and the 50,000-strong colony has proved to be so productive there are plans to increase it to 250,000 bees.

Mr Wallace said: "Bees don't like crossing bodies of water, it throws their navigation.

"However Newcastle has lots of bridges, so the bees would fly from the roof, cross the bridge, collect honey and nectar and come back again across the bridge.

"So they are commuting, several times a day."

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