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Wonderful waggledancers

Published on 21 August 2023

Milton Park is home to more than 9,000 workers, but did you know, more than 70,000 honeybees also call the Park home?

As part of our #MiltonParkSecrets campaign, we’re taking a bee’s eye view of the Park, paying tribute to our spirit animal – the hard working, collaborative honeybee.

Pollination perfection

Waking up from one of the Park’s six beehives – which can be found on the Milton Park walking map – the honeybee’s first mission of the day is breakfast. There’s plenty of options to choose from across Milton Park with a wide variety of plants with differing flowering times – providing food throughout the year for buzzing pollinators.

Once it finds a good source of pollen, the honeybee starts to perform an intricate waggledance – looping its body in a unique figure of eight to direct other bees to the nectar and pollen-laden flowers.

Helping its fellow companions, it boosts the accumulative honey reserves for the hive – much like Milton Park’s occupiers collaborating and innovating together.

As the honeybees waggledance, they’re detected by our newly installed ‘Polly Unit’, optimised to attract an array of pollinators. Using temperature, light and humidity sensors, the Park’s estate team will soon be able to collect data on the levels of pollination activity across the Park.

Pollinating and waggledancing is tiring, so it’s time for our honeybee to stop for a rest at the local hibernacula – the Park’s bee hotel. Located outside the entrance to Bee House, the hibernacula attracts visitors and resident solitary bees alike. This is one of many bug hotels around Milton Park which can be found on the walking map.

Hive of activity  

Next door to the bee hotel, The Hive Café serves a range of food and drink to the Park’s human occupiers, visitors and local residents – giving them a buzzing social hive to relax and unwind.

Once finished, they can head back to work in Bee House, with its range of flexible office spaces, co-working memberships, meeting/conference facilities and communal breakout areas – making it the perfect place for companies to meet, collaborate and cross-pollinate.

With the inspiration for Bee House’s name fueled by the discovery of the what3words square for The Hive Café (///, visitors can feast in the café, work in the cloud and collaborate like busy honeybees with a home-from-home feel.

Bee-ing a beekeeper

Flying back across the Park, the honeybee sets off to make its debut at one of Nurture Landscapes’ free ‘Meet the bees’ sessions. Here, Park occupiers can meet the honeybees up close, learn about the vital importance of pollinators and see some waggledancing first-hand.

Crawling into its hive, the honeybee hands over the pollen and nectar collected throughout the day to a group of worker bees. They deliver this to the honeycomb that sits at the top of the hive, where the pollen is transformed into honey.

This September, workers at the Park can sign up to give the Nurture Landscapes beekeeping team a helping hand with the honey harvest – the culmination of the honeybees’ hard work throughout the summer months.

Relaxing after a hard day’s work

Once the beekeeper sessions are all wrapped up for the day, the honeybee makes a few more flower bed trips to and from the hive before it’s time to head home.

Tomorrow is a new day, and more opportunities for waggledancing await…

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