Some people may have heard humming sounds at Lichtwiese – the Studierendenwerk has joined the ranks of the beekeepers. The idea came from our managing director Ms. Laux, who encouraged the head of university catering and hobbyist beekeeper himself, Volker Rettig, to place a bee colony on the roof of the Lichtwiese canteen.
No sooner said than done. In May 2017, 1000 bees spread over two honeycombs moved to the roof of the canteen. After realizing that they needed a queen, the two bee colonies began to feed a small number of bees with "gelée royale", or “royal jelly”. It is believed that royal jelly is the reason that a bee larva grows up to be a queen rather than a worker. The queen who hatches last then kills the other queens – nature is cruel. By now, each colony consists of about 1,000 bees. In summer, a colony can grow to up to 50,000 - 60,000 bees. We are already looking forward to next summer, because in July 2018 the time has finally come: The first honey produced by our "colleagues" can be tasted.
By the way: Bees are threatened all over the world. Parasites and diseases are endangering bee populations worldwide.
The importance of bees for humans
Bees are the most important working animals after cattle and pigs, as they pollinate about 80 percent of wild as well as useful plants. Otherwise, a large portion of our food would not be available to us. However, the number of bee colonies has been declining for several years. The causes have not yet been fully investigated. Climate change, parasites and the use of chemical toxins are believed to be responsible for bee mortality. In some areas of China, bees are already extinct, so humans have to pollinate the plants by hand. If you want to know more about bees, you can watch the award-winning documentary "More than Honey" for free with the ARD Mediathek.
Photos: Hendrik Hamelau