Opus In Conversation: Saving Bees in Birmingham


Birmingham’s most sustainable restaurant, Opus at Cornwall Street, is leading a campaign to save one of Europe’s most endangered species – bees.

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They’re well known for their focus on local produce, foraging, seasonal food and sustainable food production, so it’s no surprise that they’re leading the fight to save our bees.

They’re bringing together some leading bee specialists to debate how the declining bee population could have a detrimental effect on the economy, environment and diet of our city, and what can be done to protect them.

On the panel is Sharif Kahn, President of Birmingham & District Beekeepers Association (BDBKA), Professor Keith Walters, specialist in invertebrates and researcher into neonicotinoids at Harper Adams University and Simon Needle, Ecologist, Woodland and Conservation Manager at Birmingham City Council. They will be giving their top tips on how to better our gardens, streets and cities to stop bee numbers declining at Opus In Conversation: Bees in the City.

Since the 1900’s, the UK has lost 20 species of bees with a further 35 currently considered under threat of extinction. Without them, it is estimated that a third of our diet would be lost due to the catastrophic effect it would have on crops, costing UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their produce without them.

While environmental factors have affected the number of bees, a shortage of hives available in urban areas and a lack of education on how to look after bees is a major problem. There are currently only 110 beekeepers in Birmingham with an age range of 12-92, but anyone can become a beekeeper through a course held by the BDBKA.

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Ann Tonks, director of Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “Bees are in serious danger at the moment and yet, we don’t feel enough people are aware of how quickly their numbers are declining. That’s why we’ve taken action and dedicated an ‘Opus In Conversation’ to them, to get the people of Birmingham talking and acting to save our bees.

“Bees play a fundamental part in our society. They are a key pollinator to a lot of the delicious produce we like to serve in our restaurant. In fact, every dish in our restaurant relies on bees, from tomato to thyme, and without them, our diet would change drastically. We’re thrilled to have gathered some of the region’s most knowledgeable professionals and can’t wait to hear their thoughts and advice.”

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The ‘Opus In Conversation: Bees In The City’ debate at Opus at Cornwall Street takes place on Friday 15th July from 5:30 pm. You need to register in advance by calling the restaurant, but tickets are free.

Join the conversation, and help save Birmingham’s bees!


Photos used with permission from Opus