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Over the past couple of summers a buzz has been going on around the First Street area of Manchester. Situated high up atop the roof of HOME are the newest urban beehives in the city centre. Named Aldrin and Lightyear, the 2 hives are surrounded by wildflower planters created from old theatre lights, stage props and exhibition materials. Looking after them are a team of four staff Apiarists, led by Alison Criddle, HOME’s projects and sustainability co-ordinator. They completed training with MDBKA ahead of the bees’ arrival, and continued their learning throughout the first year of beekeeping.

Photograph courtesy of HOME

Though they were installed in June 2018, planning for the hives began all the way back in 2014, before the move from Cornerhouse. The beehives are just one part of HOME’s ongoing commitment to support the biodiversity of Manchester city centre. Other parts of the environmental sustainability work range from reusable cups to being the first ever arts venue in the world to complete the training of all staff in Carbon Literacy.

After their first year of operation, HOME was able to sell their first batch of HOME Honey.

Photography courtesy of HOME.

Limited to 40 jars and retailing at £10 each, the honey sold out quickly, with the money raised going towards the upkeep of the hives and sustainability projects. Future editions will depend on there being additional excesses of honey.

If you’d like to have a look, there’s a live beecam accessible via the HOME website, along with a wealth of additional environmental sustainability information.