BOLTON College is quite literally hive of activity.

Nesting on the flat roof of the new campus in Deane Road are two hives, home to thousands of bees being cared for by trained beekeeper — and college Vice Principal — Ian Fitzgerald.

He said: “I said when the college was being built, I would keep beehives here.

“The appeal of bees is there is always so much to learn. They are fascinating — it’s like studying a civilisation.”

Mr Fitzgerald, who has passed four out of the seven beekeeping exams, making him an “intermediate”

expert, tends to the latest college additions with the help of bee specialist Jay Pinnock, from The Haulgh.

Both Mr Fitzgerald’s wife, Ann, and Mr Pinnock’s, Tracy, enrolled them on beekeeping courses.

The two met when there was a swarm—around 10,000 bees—at the old Bolton College building in Manchester Road and Mr Pinnock was called to “walk” them to a new home.

Mr Fitzgerald has two beehives in his garden and sells honey to family and friends, although he admits he does not make a lot of money from it.

And he is not ruling out using the college’s new additions to complement students’ studies.

He added: “Having beehives is all about sustainability. Without bees, we would not have the range of foods we do, through pollination.”

Honey bee colonies are at the lowest numbers for about 30 years and far lower than they were at the turn of the century.

Mr Pinnock said: “On the whole, modern agricultural methods have been very bad for beekeeping.

“Urban areas, on the other hand, are full of well stocked gardens, allotments and parks and some of the best honey is produced by urban beekeepers.”

Bolton College’s Sustainability Champion, Jenny Lee, has also welcomed the new additions.

She said: “Bees are often referred to as ‘flying fertiliser’, as they are an essential part of our farmed and wild food and flora ecosystem.”

The college is holding a range of activities today to celebrate Green Britain Day.