Back in December, David Oldfield, a colleague from our Birmingham office, suggested through our Reed Think initiative that I put a beehive on the roof of my office. “Bee Brilliant!” he said, “Turn honey into money.” What a good idea, I thought and I awarded him £100 for his trouble.
Well, yesterday David’s idea became reality as we installed a colony of West Country bees into a brand new hive on the roof of Reed Online’s office in Covent Garden. It was a memorable occasion. Apiarist John Stevens and my wife Nicola were fortunately in attendance as the three of us in our bee suits transferred more than 20,000 bees from their box to the hive. For a while there was a real cloud of bees on our balcony and this attracted quite an audience. We even had two brave photographers join us from The Sun and The London Evening Standard.
“Why bees?” asked the journalists and a good number of colleagues. Well, there are two reasons we now have bees on the roof. The first is a very serious one. Bees are endangered and we want to do all that we can to support and encourage them. There are no agricultural pesticides in London so the bees will be able to forage freely from Bethnal Green to Ladbroke Grove. They can even pollinate the flowers in Her Majesty’s garden at Buckingham Palace. All are a short flight from our rooftop. We will all benefit. Bees pollinate flowers and plants. These very same plants consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. We do the opposite, so bees are a life force.
The second reason is less serious but I like it. The “busy bee” is a great metaphor for a happy and productive worker. You know that when the sun shines, the bees will go to work. It’s guaranteed. Bees are highly organised and very productive. Bees clearly love Mondays and clearly everyone loves honey. So having a literal hive of activity outside my office window will be, I am sure, an inspiration. I can see them now, coming and going as I write.
We don’t expect to make a fortune from honey production, but David will receive the first pot of honey that we produce. And this Christmas we will also be producing honey whiskey as a gift for our clients.
I am very pleased that we have brought the bees back to the Garden. Covent Garden is the site of the old Convent Garden that was once attached to Westminster Abbey. It seems entirely right that our bees should make it their home.