The Mensa bee flies over the Lichtwiese
Some have already heard it "buzzing" on the Lichtwiese - the Studierendenwerk has gone among the beekeepers. The idea came from our managing director, Mrs Laux, who encouraged the head of university catering, Volker Rettig, himself a hobby beekeeper, to set up a bee colony on the roof of the Mensa Lichtwiese.
In May 2017, 1,000 bees spread over two combs moved onto the roof of the Mensa Lichtwiese. After the two colonies realised that they needed a queen, they started feeding a small number of the bees with "royal jelly". Some are of the opinion that royal jelly is the cause of a bee larva hatching into a queen instead of a worker bee. The queen that hatches last then kills the other queens - nature is harsh. In the meantime, there are three colonies on the canteen roof, which have settled in well. The number of bees varies depending on the season. In winter, a colony consists of about 5,000 bees, while in summer the number can grow up to 50,000 bees per colony.
Our bees have been very busy and have given us plenty of honey in the last few years. Last December (2020), it was on sale in the Bistro in the town centre - but not for very long! The demand was enormous, so that within a few hours no more honey was available.
We are really looking forward to the summertime, when it will be humming and buzzing again on and around the roofs of the Lichtwiese.
By the way: Bees are increasingly threatened all over the world, as can be seen from the declining number of wild bee colonies in recent years. There is no precisely research, but you will find many more or less certain assumptions concerning that issue: climate change, parasites and the use of chemical poisons are largely responsible for bee mortality. In some areas of China, bees have already died out completely, so that people have to take over the pollination of plants by hand.
However, the importance of bees for humans is immense! Bees are the most important farm animals after cattle and pigs, as they pollinate around 80% of crops and wild plants. A large part of our food would therefore not be available to us without bees. To learn more about the bee and its importance for humans, we recommend the award-winning documentary "More Than Honey".
Photos: Hendrik Hamelau