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Gwent Crematorium to host honey bee hives

7 February 10 09:34 GMT

A crematorium is set to host honey bee hives both to boost pollination in its flower garden and to help fight the insect's decline in numbers.

Two bee-keepers are interested in having hives at Gwent Crematorium near Cwmbran, the Greater Gwent Cremation Joint Committee has been told.

The groundsman suggested hives could go next to a composting bay in a corner of the organic Garden of Remembrance.

Honey bee colonies face attack by viruses spread by the varroa mite.

Beekeepers across Wales have reported losses of up to 60% of their stock due to disease, poor weather, agricultural chemicals and air pollution.

Bees are important pollinators of flowers and crops. The UK has 18 true bumblebee species and many are seriously threatened due to habitat loss.

Government-backed agri-environment schemes offer payments to farmers to help them maintain flower-rich areas for bees and other wildlife.

Gardeners have also been encouraged to plant wild flower varieties.

The Greater Gwent Cremation Joint Committee heard that it was hoped two bee hives for trial period of a year would help the pollination of plants in the grounds and boost the crematorium's chances in green awards.

The report added that the crematorium's normal use would not be affected by the hives.

It said: "The crematorium is in a prime position as a 'safe site' because it is a large organic garden, using no pesticides, and is bordered by a large organic farm.

"Consultations have been made with the Gwent Bee-Keepers Association, and it proposed that two hives could usefully be introduced in the crematorium grounds.

"As a significant local horticultural site, it is in the interests of the crematorium to assist in the well-being of the local honey-bee population for the purpose of pollination of our plant nursery stocks."

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