Bee Com­pany re­ally start­ing to fly

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - JOBS IN SCOTLAND -

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

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