Swarms of Bees arrive at Mercure Sheffield Parkway Hotel
Mercure Sheffield Parkway Hotel have welcomed a swarm of bees and new beehives have been constructed in the hotel grounds. We spoke to our general manager, Ruslana, to find out exactly why she wanted to introduce bees to the hotel and what she’d like to achieve by having them with us.
• Why you have decided to get beehives installed in the grounds?
I am from Ukraine and my parents have 20 acres of land. My father has a few hives as they are an essential tool for growing fruits and vegetables. When I worked in Hertfordshire, I got in touch with the British Beekeepers Association, a national beekeeping charity for 25,000 hobbyist beekeepers, raising standards through training and education. Working with this charity, I arranged to have 4 beehives installed.
On my first day of working at Mercure Sheffield Parkway Hotel, I walked around and spotted an empty green space at the back of the hotel. I thought it could be put to better use. I always have the question “how can I make a difference?” in my mind and on my first day I decided – we need bees! And now we have them! Matt Green, our maintenance man was tasked to research the local bee keepers societies and get them here to work with us.
• What you want to achieve by having the bees?
Bees are essential to a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Not many people realise, but we rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. But bees are under threat and without them so is our food and economy. It’s tempting to think bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they’re behind much of the food we eat, including fruit jam and butternut squash, often used in soup.
• Do you have any long term or future goals?
Bees pollinate plants in gardens, parks and the wider countryside – the local community would appreciate the healthy environment we are creating.
The long term plan is to involve local schools, welcoming children to plant flowers rich in nectar, to help bees find the food they need. This will also help us to create beautiful flower beds around the hotel. Choosing local honey will support our honey bees and their beekeepers – the plans are to educate our guests and let them try our new items on the menu such as ‘breakfast honey smoothie’ and ‘french toast with honey’.
Further ahead, we would like to look at introducing a honey-themed afternoon tea with honey & lemon tea, honey scones, cakes and seasonal honey cocktails. We would also like to introduce new experiences, including a special ‘beekeeper for a day’ package and offer guests a local bees tour and honey tasting.