eNews

enews 18/05/20: World Bee Week Film

This Wednesday is World Bee Day so we will be showing a brand new bee documentary tomorrow for the Savvy Film Club. This film has not even been properly released yet so we feel very excited to be able to screen this for you all!

We have also discovered that Arran has a very active bee community – please read on below to find out more.

  1. Savvy Film Club (online & FREE!)
  2. Bees on Arran
  3. More bees info & kid’s activities!
  4. Listen to our first “Growing on Arran” podcast
  5. Eco Savvy eBike trials during COVID crisis

Savvy Film Club (online & FREE!)

Tomorrow, Tuesday 19th May, in honour of World Bee Day on Wednesday, we are delighted to be screening a brand new documentary which has only had limited release – “The Pollinators”:

“A cinematic journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all eat.

We will talk to farmers, scientist, chefs, economists and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the threats to honey bees and what it means to our food security.”

Prior to the screening we will send you a link and password to enable you to watch the film for free on your own laptop or other device.

Click on the event below or email ruth.ecosavvy@gmail.com to let us know you’d like to watch and we’ll send you info about how to see the film tomorrow.

Have a look at the trailer below:

After the film there will be an opportunity to have a discussion within the comments on the facebook event page. If you would like to watch this film with us could you please let us know by:

We will then be in touch on TUESDAY (tomorrow) with instructions of how to watch the film for free – Hope to (virtually) see you there!


Bees on Arran

You may be surprised to hear that there are lots of bee happenings on Arran!

Arran Bee Group
Arran has it’s own bee group, which started in 2012 with 3 people and has grown to 18! They have lots of interesting info on their facebook page and outside of coronavirus time can offer help and advice to people wanting to get started with beekeeping.

If you would like to buy some Arran honey this is normally available around the end of July/August time and is sold in Bay Stores in Whiting Bay and the Lagg Distillery. Limited amounts are also sometimes available on the facebook page so if you would like local honey from the Arran Bee Group join the page and keep your eyes peeled!

A great message from the Arran Bee Group is that if you would like to help bees on Arran please don’t mow your lawn. Bees like a messy garden apparently as it means there are lots of nice flowers for them. There is even a National Trust “No Mow May” Challenge! That’s definitely a task we can get behind 😀

Arran Bee Products 

Andrew Walker has been keeping bees for over 20 years. He uses the wax from the bees to make various items all of which contain only natural products and no additives with ingredients as locally sourced as possible.

Arran Bee Products are usually available for sale in the Eco Savvy Shop in Whiting Bay (see pic for some examples of his beautiful reusable beeswax wraps), Driftwood and the tourist office in Brodick and Lagg Distillery​. Andrew currently has products for sale so please contact him direct through his facebook page and he can arrange delivery.

Research into mites & disease on Arran bees 
Arran has been a test location for groundbreaking research by St.Andrew’s University into eradicating the destructive Varroa mite and Deformed Wing Virus which is a huge threat to the world’s bee population.

We reached out to Luke Woodford, for an update on how the research has been going and were dismayed to hear that the project has been affected, last year by a fire in their labs and, sadly, this year by coronavirus. However, Luke very kindly gave us the following info:

“The basic principle of our work on Arran is to utilise an island community of open-minded beekeepers. Varroa is an invasive parasite which is now found worldwide and it acts as a vector for a range of different viruses, the most notable of which is Deformed Wing Virus. Together, they are responsible for a large number of the over-wintering colony losses we experience in Britain. However, there are effective treatments to remove Varroa from colonies, they just need to be used correctly.
 
The key component from this project is the coordination. By engaging all the beekeepers in this project we know that we are treating every colony at once. This is important because if the colonies weren’t treated in unison Varroa would simply move from an untreated colony back to a treated one once treatments were finished and the mites would continue to infest. As this is an island group we can control the chances of other drifting bees bringing Varroa to any of our colonies.
 
This project has been running since 2017. Every summer we collect a small number of bees from every hive on the island, examine the viruses they contain and compare this to the amount of Varroa we observe when we treat all the colonies at the end of the summer. Some of the positives from this project have been the big uptake and enthusiasm of the group, an improvement in understanding of honey bee diseases and a large increase in the number of honey bee colonies and beekeepers on the island.”


More bees info & kids’ activities!

Make a bee hotel!: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/make-a-bee-house

How to make a bee watering station: https://backyardbeekeeping.iamcountryside.com/health-pests/creating-the-best-water-sources-for-bees

Great article about bee friendly plants in Scotland: https://www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk/images/education/Bee%20Friendly%20Gardening.pdf


Listen to our first “Growing on Arran” podcast!

Since the lockdown began we have been running a series on growing your own food on Arran (click here to find out more) and sharing content about how to get started in the garden. We also asked whether people in the Arran community had specific questions about their own gardens.

We received quite a lot of questions and decided to turn to the gardening community to find the answers to some of them. What resulted is the podcast that we are delighted to share with you!

Jess had the pleasure of speaking to Malcolm Wheeler, a long time gardener in Corrie who shared insights about growing his favourite fruit, about whether you can compost grass and where we can buy fruit trees given the current situation.

She then spoke with Ronna Park who runs the blog Sage and Sanctuary, where she shares her gardening experiences in Lamlash, about what plants grow well on a sunny windowsill, her favourite veg to grow and she gave some great tips for new gardeners.

Finally we spoke to Simon Ross-Gill, one of the directors of Woodside Arran, the creator of the Arran Green Map and facilitator of the Arran Heritage Arts Trail who currently gardens at the Cladach Community Garden. He shared information on using seaweed as a mulch, preventing slugs, growing in poly tunnels and also gave some tips for novice gardeners.

Click here to listen to our conversation here!


Eco Savvy ebike trials during COVID crisis

To assist with the COVID Crisis Eco Savvy will have 6 ebikes for use from 2nd June.

If you currently have to use public transport to get to work or are a Covid health worker who could make good use of an e-bike please let us know. If you are looking to replace your car movements with quick, fun, no-cost (in this case), low-carbon alternative please email andrew.ecosavvy@gmail.com for more details.

We are keen for more people to experience the eBike technology as we slowly return to a more normal way of life and look to make active travel on Arran the norm.