RAF Boulmer’s new arrivals already have their wings

Dave Karle with the RAF Boulmer bee hive.
Dave Karle with the RAF Boulmer bee hive.

RAF Boulmer is buzzing at the arrival of some brand new flyers but they’re slightly smaller than we’ve come to expect.

A hive of 25,000 bees has been situated on a secluded area of land at the station’s operations site.

Given that the number of bees in the UK is on the decline, which disrupts the major role they play in ensuring the pollenation of crops, the news will be welcome to local farmers.

Placed away from people and buildings, the hive is sheltered from the northerly winds and is among an abundance of food, including elderflowers, blackberry flowers, tree blossom and the wild flowers of the station’s conservation meadow.

Ex-RAF Flight Lieutenant and MOD civil servant Dave Karle, from Alnwick, was given permission to site the hive.

“Declining numbers of bees throughout the UK has prompted the Government to launch an urgent review of the threat, and I am grateful to RAF Boulmer and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, who own the land, for allowing me permission to site the hive,” he said.

He plans to ensure honey made this year will be allowed to remain in the hive to sustain the bees over the winter.

“The hive has only been here for five weeks and the bees are thriving. A queen bee will lay about 1,500 eggs a day in the summer so I hope to have a full colony by the end of August with about 60-70,000 bees. This will fall back to about 10,000 in the winter. The objective is to get the bees through the winter. They will certainly be well looked after.”

The project is purely for conservation reasons, however, if he makes enough honey to sell next year, any profits will be donated to charity.