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Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 10:57 UK
Busy beehive webcam is a big hit
Honey bees
"It's a real teamwork effort to make the honey that we buy in the shops"

The humble honey bee is dying out in England with massively declining numbers.

But one local hotelier has been busy protecting bees and sharing them with the wider world.

Melton Mowbray's Gavin Howling has set up webcams in one of his hives that stream live video of his brilliant bees across the world.

The cameras have become much more popular than Gavin had ever anticipated with hundreds of visitors to the site.

Catching the buzz

Gavin first starting keeping bees at the age of nine, and over 30 years later he now has 15-20 hives.

He first set up the glass-sided observation hive as a safe way of allowing his young children to see the beehive without risk of being stung.

It's thought that one bee in it's lifetime will collect about one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
Gavin Howling, beekeeper

It is now home to a complete colony of up to 4,000 bees, however no honey is taken from the hive.

"It's not sufficiently big to be a commercial viable colony as such, it's just for observation purposes."

Honey from the other hives is served in Gavin's Melton Mowbray hotel and restaurant. The beecam evolved from customers' interest in the product's origin.

The outside camera is focuses on the entrance to an observation hive where bees can be seen flying in and out as they collect pollen.

The bees fly in a three mile radius around the hotel, making millions of journeys between the hives and plants.

"There's lots of statistics about how much honey an individual bee will collect, but it's thought that one bee in it's lifetime will collect about one twelve of a teaspoon of honey.

A honey bee on a flower
Gavin's bees collect pollen in a three mile radius

"So that shows how it's a real teamwork effort to make the honey that we buy in the shops."

The inside camera is currently observing a section of the comb being used to rear young, however the camera is periodically moved to catch the best bee action.

When night draws in the video stream keeps rolling, assisted by an outside infra-red camera.

The beecams have been much more popular than he ever anticipated, which is possibly due to its unique features.

"You can use it as a bit of a weather barometer as well, because if you look at the outside of the hive you can see, obviously they'll be more bees flying on a sunny day as opposed to a wet rainy day."




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