The lives of hundreds of thousands of honey bees in Kirkcaldy may have been saved thanks to the generosity of the public.
Dozens of wellwishers rallied round to donate money to help a Langtoun-based beekeeper replenish his stock of honey substitute bee feed after the container it was in was vandalised last week, causing over 940 litres of the food to spill onto the road and be ruined.
Steve Madley (51), who lives with his wife Susan in Burntisland, and rents an industrial unit on Mitchelston Industrial Estate, where he keeps around a million honey bees in ten hives in an adjacent field, has thanked those who responded.
“My wife set up the appeal, and I wasn’t too sure about it, but I would like to thank everyone who has contributed and assure them that their donations will be put to good use replacing the bees’food and also introducing some security measures to keep them safer.”
Steve plans to build a fence around the field, using recycled wooden pallets – he already has CCTV cameras installed, on which he saw the person responsible for vandalising the container where the bee feed was kept.
Police Scotland say they are still following a positive line of enquiry in relation to the incident which happened last Monday evening, and caused around £1000 of damage.
Mr Madley told the Press that he had managed to find another supplier of the feed in Fife and that the future was now looking much brighter for his beloved bees.
“I think in the long run the person who did this may have done me a favour,” he said. “He had made me more wary of what people are capable of doing, and I am sure he didn’t realise what he was doing and wouldn’t have known he was putting the lives of bees at risk when he kicked the tap off the container and caused it to spill out.”
Steve says he is now keen to expand his hives to take on more bees and is working with a company in Liverpool on a new computerised hive with an inbuilt temperature and humidity system which can detect problems before they happen.
“I have always had a fascination with bees, but didn’t start keeping them until my wife gave me a beekeeping course for my 50th birthday last year and I just decided to go for it.
“I originally went into it for the honey, which I love, but now it is all about the welfare and looking after and preserving the bees.”
Steve is keen to share his knowledge and enthusiasm about bees with the next generation, and he is planning to hold a public open day next month to let people see what is involved in beekeeping, dis-spell some of the myths and show them how easily it can be done.