AN entrepreneur is encouraging Cork businesses to adopt a social responsibility role with a difference through the introduction of on-site beehives.
Seadna Mac Giolla Coda from An Beach Dubh introduced thousands of native bees to the TELUS International campus in Mahon to mark Word Bee Day today. Up to 60,000 Irish honey bees from two separate hives have now made the location their home. The motivation behind Seadna’s start-up company was to assist companies in their bid to protect local biodiversity.
The partnership between TELUS International Ireland and An Beach Dubh is part of an initiative to repopulate urban areas with native high-quality bee colonies while raising awareness of the importance of bees. It will also oversee the production of 40kg of honey throughout the year. Seadna’s focus will be on carrying out regular apiary inspections throughout the year along with beekeeping demonstrations for staff members.
He hopes that this will be the first of many corporate partnerships.
“Irish bee populations have been declining since 1980 as increased development has led to habitat loss,” he said.
“As bees are such important pollinators, this could be devastating for food production and biodiversity. Working with TELUS International Ireland, we are delighted to reintroduce high-quality bee colonies into the Mahon area to mark World Bee Day. My focus is on the conservation of our native Irish honey bee, and this latest partnership with TELUS International Ireland will provide the hive with a safe habitat along with nurturing an understanding and care for bees and pollination within the wider community.”
The fourth-generation beekeeper, who lives in Blackpool, opened up about his passion for the business as a family tradition.
“For my grandad, this wasn’t a full-time profession,” he said.
“In those days owning bees was just like growing your own vegetables. Everyone was a farmer in a way. Sugar came from South America so was expensive to buy, so a lot of people kept bees.”
It was his father who first decided to take his beekeeping to a commercial level. “Fifty years ago my dad decided to retire from his job as a forester early to become a commercial beekeeper. From the age of 10 there were a lot of hives around the house.
“As someone who grew up around bees, I don’t have that fear a lot of other people have around bees or the same fight or flight instinct. When my dad used to call me over to show me what he was doing I didn’t realise he was trying to teach me. For me, this was just a way of life. He is turning 89 in September but is still as strong as an ox and continues to run his honey business.”
The businessman takes pride in the fact that his bees are all native.
“You want a bee that has naturally evolved to handle our climate and that’s where the use of the native bee comes in.”
He stressed the importance of bees in society. “People are becoming aware of bees like they are about recycling. They are so important for the survival of the human race. A lot of the food that we eat would be gone if there weren’t bees to pollinate.”
Horticultural Therapist at TELUS International Ireland, Ciara Parsons, said the company has always been proud of its emphasis on biodiversity.
“As part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, the garden at our Cork campus is already full of bee-friendly wildflowers. Our team places huge pride in our gardens, and the arrival of these beehives will make our outdoor projects more sustainable than ever.”