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Bees on the
Blenheim Estate

Blenheim is a unique haven for pollinators, such as honeybees, mining bees and damsel flies.
Bees on the <br />Blenheim Estate

Bees on the
Blenheim Estate

Blenheim is a unique haven for pollinators, such as honeybees, mining bees and damsel flies.

The incredibly rich mix of wildflowers and nectar-producing plants on the Estate, as well as many hectares of virtually undisturbed native woodlands, make it a perfect habitat for them. 

Many people don’t realise the wide variety of pollinators that work together to maintain the perfect ecosystem. Honeybees, solitary bees, mining bees, damsel flies and wasps are all pollinators with a role to play. Even wasps have their purpose – to keep pests at bay that could otherwise destroy the ecosystem. Preserving this ecosystem and the species that live in it for future generations is an important part of our ongoing Land Strategy.

In order to maintain the perfect conditions for this bee species to thrive, our conservation work must include the prevention of any ‘dangerous’ colonies entering into the Park and disrupting the delicate ecosystem. Colonies of certain European species, for example, risk bringing disease into the environment of the native colonies, or competing with these colonies for food. To alleviate this risk as best we can, we have placed a small number of our natural bee hives around the perimeter of the Park in the hopes that any threatening colonies will swarm the vacant hives, which can then be safely moved elsewhere before they establish themselves within the World Heritage Site – these are known as ‘trap hives’.

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Our partnership with
Rowse Honey

We are joining forces with Rowse Honey on a major conservation project to create a sustainable nectar source for local wild bees and other pollinators, as well as introducing new habitats for insects and birds, in and around our Estate.
Our new five-year partnership will see the creation of at least 50 acres of pollinator-rich meadows on agricultural land within our pioneering regenerative farming project, as well as help fund new research into the role diverse mixes of pollinators have in farmed landscapes.

Rare Bees at Blenheim

In recent years, we have conducted a number of biodiversity studies on the Blenheim Estate. We have discovered the presence of hundreds of different species including over 40 colonies of wild bees. Finding this many colonies in one place is very rare – some of the species were believed to have disappeared from the UK entirely before now. This suggests that the bees are thriving and multiplying in number. We were incredibly lucky, when recently carrying out some studies in the woodland, that a new swarm actually arrived whilst we were there and colonised one of our trees.

The Ecosystem is Everything

We are actively studying the ecosystem using the bees as our focus to understand how to preserve it – not just for them but for all the other pollinators. It is probable that these bees have evolved within their environment, maybe even undergoing some natural genetic adaptations over time that have assisted their survival. The delicate ecosystem within the Estate provides them with perfect natural nesting sites in the ancient oaks and beech trees; these tend to have perfect-sized holes for the bees to enter and coexist with other pollinators, with minimal issues.

Our Hives

Many traditional man-made hives do not actually provide ideal conditions for bees. We are creating hives out of surplus timber from our woodlands, which are more naturally suited to the bees by more closely resembling their natural hive environment. For example, wasps will try to attack honeybee nests, but because our natural wooden hives have smaller holes and entrances, bees can better defend themselves. The hives are placed high up in trees so they are more sheltered and out of the way of many other pests.

Natural Conservation

Natural conservation is incredibly important for the bees. This is for both their survival and for the ongoing benefit of the unique ecosystem that supports so many other rare and fascinating species. We don’t need to feed our wild bees or treat their hives; they live undisturbed, and we are working tirelessly to ensure their habitat is protected and preserved.


If you’re interested in helping native species of honeybee grow,
here are a few things you could do:


Planting pollen-rich wildflowers like poppy, marigold and forget-me-not as well as flowering species like wild cherry trees and honeysuckle encourage little visitors to your green spaces. Resist the urge to remove garden weeds such as dandelions which provide vital pollen early in the season.


Synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are harmful to bees. Avoid treating your green spaces with these harsh chemicals and instead try organic products and natural solutions like compost to aid soil health - you could even introduce beneficial insects that keep pests away, such as ladybirds.