A PARCEL of land in near Trethomas could become an apiary to help boost the bee population in the area after Caerphilly borough council officials agreed to lease the land.

The borough council has agreed to lease in response to the decline of the UK bee community is causing real concerns, so they are keen top help protect and promote this important species. The proposed 'nursery' apiary will allow enthusiasts to learn all about bee keeping by tending the hives that will be constructed at the site.

The Cardiff, Vale and Valleys Beekeeping Association have approached the council to negotiate terms for the use of the land. The site is located away from residential areas and offers bees an ideal habitat with many flowering species in the south-facing grassland.

Cllr Ron Davies, CCBC cabinet member for regeneration and countryside, welcomed the move: "We are delighted that we can support the plight of our bee population by offering this site for such a worthwhile cause. The council will work with the Association to develop the new apiary which will provide a valuable contribution to the environment and the local community."

The Association hopes to breed bees that are as close as possible to the species indigenous to Wales and the UK - the Black Honeybee.

This species has been highlighted as a possible key to reversing the decline in the UK's honeybee population and could help it survive the kind of threats that have resulted in the decline over recent years.

The project has wider biodiversity benefits for the area and would contribute to achieving targets in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) for the management and enhancement of species-rich grasslands, and increasing suitable habitat for associated species, including bees, butterflies and moths.

It is anticipated that work to establish the new apiary at the site will start sometime in April.