Bee Company really starting to fly
Apioneering approach to farming of heather honey across Scotland has led to the country’s first ever apprentice in the sector.
The appointment by The Scottish Bee Company comes just over six months after the start-up business was launched.
It was set up with the aim of boosting the country’s dwindling bee population and increasing pollination as well as grow employment opportunities for bee farmers and help generate a rise in the export of Scottish products.
Established by Scottish husband and wife team Suzie and Iain Millar, as a purpose-driven business with the aim of increasing honey bee numbers, the pure honey produced by The Scottish Bee Company has also been proven to contain health and healing qualities.
As a result of setting up the Edinburghbased firm, the business has already spread its geographical reach by securing contracts with The House of Bruar in Perthshire, IJ Mellis across Scotland, into Cumbria, England. and
Newly-appointed apprentice Katie Warwick, who previously worked as a gardener after gaining her RHS Level Two Qualification in Horticulture in 2012 from Capel Manor College in London’s Enfield area, contacted the company to find out more about bee farming after learning about the business’s work.
She said: “Being in gardens almost day every day for the past seven years, I watched bees with fascination and have always been an advocate of using plants that attract as many pollinators as possible.
“So, when I read about The Scottish Bee Company, I was keen to find out how I could help become involved.”
Suzie contacted the British Bee Farming Association, sponsored by Rowse Honey, to see how they could bring Katie on board. With their support, they were able to create apprenticeship.
“Katie’s passion for bees and the outdoors extends beyond her vocation,” said Suzie.
“As someone who grew up in an London but whose family come from Scotland, she is a keen Munro bagger and has spent plenty of time among the heather!
“Our aim is to sponsor further bee-farming apprenticeships to encourage more people into the farming community.”
The success of The Scottish Bee Company within such a short time has surpassed Suzie and Iain’s expectations.
“We founded the company out of a love for the environment as we were saddened by the continually documented decline in the Scottish bee population,” said Suzie.
“Along with dwindling bee numbers, it is also astonishing how much honey consumed in the UK is imported from around the world. We felt strongly that we needed more, homegrown, beefriendly honey.”
The Scottish Bee Company has beehives all over Scotland, from Dumfriesshire, the Lothians and Stirlingshire, to Fife and Aberdeenshire. Initially, they produced a premium Scottish heather honey but quickly bee went on to add blossom honey to the offering with smaller jars of both and cut comb due to be launched.
Iain said heather honey has been proven to have the same super powers as New Zealand Manuka honey.
“Recent studies by the University of Glasgow have discovered that honey from bees in the Scottish Highlands is effective in treating a number of infections and conditions,” he said.
“We reinvest proceeds into the rearing of the managed bee colonies which are so vital for the pollination they provide.
“Ultimately, we felt we could assist our local bee population while enjoying all the health benefits of a luxury Scottish honey.”
The Scottish Bee Company, which uses only recycled or recyclable packaging, also supports local bee farmers and has hired an expert team help the industry grow.
Together, they are working towards producing uniquely flavourful honeys that evoke a sense of Scotland’s unspoiled wilderness. to