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Hamburg Airport celebrating 20th anniversary of honey bee project

Insects indicate air quality - efforts also benefiting wild bees

Hamburg Airport is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its honey project during the course of which more than 200,000 honey bees have collected nectar and pollen and produced around 12,00 jars of honey. Honey, wax and pollen also provide information about the air quality, the airport said Wednesday in a press release (July 10, 2019). In 2014, the airport launched a wild bee project with the Deutschen Wildtier Stiftung or German Wildlife Foundation to enlarge the habitat of the endangered insects. Last year, the initiative became an official project within the framework of the UN Decade on Biological Diversity.

Measures to improve habitat

Around half of over 580 different species of wild bees are endangered, experts have estimated. Urban beekeeping can counteract this trend. Regardless of honey bees or wild bees, “Hamburg Airport offers one of the largest green spaces in the Hanseatic city,” said Ingo Fehr, Hamburg Airport’s beekeeper and environmental engineer. Measures such as sowing different flowers, creating small-scale raw soil areas or building so-called insect hotels – artificially created nesting and wintering aids – can improve the insects’ habitat.

Good results of tests

The regular tests of honey, wax and pollen in independent laboratories have revealed the flawless chemical-physical values of the honey, which correspond to the quality guidelines of the Deutsche Imkerbund or beekeeper federation. Hamburg Airport began pioneering its honey when the project launched in 1999. Many other airports worldwide are now following its lead, the airport said. 

Sources and further information:

Melissa KnausJuly 22, 2019