A new buzz in Ayrshire

There’s a buzz about Ayrshire as Kilmarnock Community Fire Station has welcomed new inhabitants. The station has installed beehives and has produced its first jars of honey.

Kilmarnock received help from Dreghorn Community Fire Station where a hive has been working for a few years.

The original Dreghorn Queen bee and 15,000 of her workers moved to Kilmarnock in May where they are now being cared for by Crew Commander Leroy Shaw.

The colony thrived in its new home and grew to around 70,000. Leroy advised that now the season is coming to an end, the numbers will go down to around 15,000 as the bees prepare to hibernate.

Although beekeepers have reported this year’s weather has had a detrimental effect on honey production, Kilmarnock did manage to produce around 20lbs of honey in their first year. Jars of honey were given to staff, external partners and local children’s nurseries and schools. And the future looks sweet – as Leroy entered a local honey show and won first prize.

Next year the station plans to give free jars of honey to school children to help provide education on bees and their importance to our environment. Limited Edition honey will also be sold, with the proceeds going to local charity – Crosshouse Children’s Fund. And the team has expanded with firefighter Jamie Murray also learning the trade.

At Dreghorn Community Fire Station, firefighter Stephen McAnespie looks after the hives. His dad, Phil McAnespie has over 20 years of beekeeping experience. He has been mentoring the trainees who are in the process of joining the Ayr & District Beekeepers Association, where they will have opportunities to take exams and become Master Beekeepers.

Firefighter smiling with a pot of honey in hand