Glasgow City Chambers have been invaded by 120,000 bees.

But there's no need for alarm - the bees have taken up residence on the roof of the iconic building as part of Sustainable Glasgow's plans for Green Year 2015.

Honeybees are important pollenators but unfortunately they are under threat from disease, increased use of pesticides, lack of foraging and climate change.

Now Sustainable Glasgow is doing its bit to increase their numbers by housing two colonies high above George Square on the flat roof of the Chambers. The new arrivals have already proved a huge hit with council staff who have volunteered in swarms to look after them. An appeal for volunteers to be trained in hive management was inundated and there is now a waiting list to join the course.

Two insulated beehives have been purchased to help the insects keep warm during the winter. The bees will travel as far as three miles from their new homes to forage and are expected to frequent flowers in George Square and on Glasgow Green as well as flying further afield to other parks.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Sustainable Glasgow, said: "Bees are exceptionally important to the food chain. They pollinate a third of the food we eat and also pollinate trees which help reduce air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. 

"Sadly their numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years so Sustainable Glasgow is doing its bit to help reverse that decline by installing these two hives.

"I hope the bees will flourish in their new homes and help us ensure Glasgow remains a Dear Green Place for generations to come."


PlanBee Ltd were contracted to provide the bees and hives as well as training council staff to look after the industrious insects. Wax produced by the bees will be used as a sustainable source of polish for furniture in the council's Satinwood Suite.

A decision has yet to be taken on how the honey will be used. It will depend on the amount and quality produced.

The Greener Legacy project is being funded by the city council and Stalled Spaces.

Glasgow aims to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe by cutting carbon emissions produced by its activities by 30% by 2020 / 21.

Existing initiatives include the creation of a network of electric car charging points, the introduction of solar powered parking meters, the employment of Green Wardens, the use of electric vehicles in the council fleet and the creation of a Green Energy Services Company to promote and oversee renewable energy projects in the city. 
 

Glasgow's Stalled Spaces initiative is now being rolled out across Scotland after being so successful in the city. It has seen 32 disused spaces in Glasgow brought back into use as community gardens, performances spaces and as locations for public art installations.

Next year Glasgow plans to hold Green Year 2015 - 12 months of activities celebrating the city's green credentials and also encouraging others to do their bit for the environment.

Find out more about Green Year 2015 by following @greenglasgow on twitter.