BEES IN THE CITY
21. July 2022
The bee population is declining. This is not only due to climate change, but also because of deforestation, of the use of various chemicals in agriculture. Bees are losing their natural environment due to these influences.
It may sound paradoxical, but urban environment is often more suitable for bees than the rural one. Why this is so and why it is important to support the bee population in the city? We talked with a beekeeper Pavol Lehotak, who takes care of the beehives at Foxconn Slovakia.
A few months ago, you instalated five bee families in the Foxconn Slovakia areal. How are they doing?
They are doing well, they have been dealing here without any problems. I am checking them every week to be sure, everything is as it should be.
When I brought them here, they already had some reserves of honey, so they handled the transport and the change of environment without any problems. Next days I am looking forward for the first kilograms of Foxconn honey.
Where are the hives located?
In the woods just behind the company. We found there an ideal place for them, where they are protected from the wind and the sun. The trees help them maintain the right temperature inside the hive. Because the hive should not be in direct sunlight throughout the day.
What kind of honey are Foxconn bees collecting?
Mostly floral. In the time of the transport of bee colonies to Foxconn Slovakia, trees were blooming in the city of Nitra – linden trees, oilseed rape, chestnuts, and agates. They are flying to the city without any problems. Recently, a sunflower also bloomed in the fields nearby.
Industrial park and the bees? Does it even go together?
Definitely yes. Bees manage an area of about 5 km from the hive, but they also fly further. In the vicinity of Foxconn there are fertile fields and mountains of the Zoborská lesostep, as well as the city of Nitra, where there are many blooming trees and flowers.
This is a modern trend. I mean, placing the beehives on the shopping malls, multi-functional buildings and others. Of course with safety at the first place.
Why is it important to placing the bees in the city?
It helps to maintain the bee population, because it is decreasing. And if there are no bees, there will be no pollinated flowers, no fruits, and maybe not even us…
Bees also belong in the city, they can find sustenance here without any problems. They will find a wide variety of plants and trees in it that can help pollinate. So it’s about the help to each other.
The latest studies even say that honey from the city is healthier than honey from the countryside. In the countryside, there is a monocultural environment and especially a lot of pesticides from spraying, which certainly threaten bees more than in the city. Honey from the city paradoxically contains fewer pathogens and residues than honey from the countryside.
Aren’t bees dangerous for the people in the city?
People often confuse bees with other stinging insects. For example, wasps that seek their sustenance in our food and drinks. However, the bee finds it on flowers and trees and is not naturally aggressive. Of course, bees can swarm. However, there is no reason to panic. Most of the time, the swarm seems to be fixed in one place until the beekeeper captures it. Bees never attack you without a reason.
However, it is appropriate to inform about the establishment of beehives the nearby neighbors. So they will be equipped with anti-allergical drugs if they suffer from any difficulties after being stung by a bee.
What advice would you give to beekeepers who would like to set up hives in the city?
The most important thing is to choose a right place so that the bees are well protected from weather and also that there are trees and flowers nearby.