The bee has been a symbol of Manchester since seven bees were incorporated into the city's coat of arms in 1842. At the time, Manchester was at the centre of the Industrial Revolution and the bee is an ancient symbol of industry. It's the most common insect to appear on coats of arms, so the incorporation into Manchester's design was an obvious inclusion. Their placement over a globe highlights Manchester's global links at the time, with 60% of the world's cotton being processed in Manchester, 80% of which came from America.
As a demonstration of civic pride, the city's coat of arms began being incorporated into many buildings being built around this time, which is why it can be found on many buildings across the city, which can be seen if you look up when you walk around. It's from this starting point that the bee became an important emblem of the city.
The Manchester Bees project began in June 2012, and aimed to find out how many bees there are to find around Manchester City Centre. As the project developed, it was obvious that the bees had become integrated into the fabric of the city and its people. From street art, to tattoos, to business logos and clothing designs, the bee has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Gareth Hacking is a Manchester based photographer who has been documenting Manchester for the past ten years.