Animals & Wildlife Magazine

‘To Bee Or Not To Bee?: That’s The Question In Austria

By Linda

bee with heart shaped cloud

photo : Ian Burt

The world’s population of bees is in decline and with an annual global income of some 153 billion Euro (United Nations report 2011) dependant on our furry little friends, the Austrian capital of Vienna has joined just a handful of cities around the world in an innovative approach to counteract the problem. They have addressed the question of ‘to bee or not to bee?’

Why Are Our Bees Beleaguered?

In very ancient times (the BC years and beyond) bees were an important bit of the economy, but without being beleaguered the way they are today. They provided honey, wax and royal jelly (a food supplement with B-complex vitamins, like B6 which is important in the prevention of cancers – though we didn’t know this until around the 1930s!).

In those halcyon days before pesticides and other contaminants, bees roamed the globe footloose and fancy free. And when their work was done they began their ascent to bee heaven safe in the knowledge that their colonies would weather the winter and whatever lay beyond. They didn’t need apiaries (until today I thought they were something to do with monkeys!), bee-keepers or (honey)combs to bother them either.

But by medieval times, man had recognised the commercial value of bee-keeping and it comes as no surprise to learn that those bastions of the beauty of God’s natural world – the Monks and Abbots – colonised the bees and so the beleaguering began!

In fairness, this still wasn’t too much of a problem for our ‘apis amigos’ at first. There were enough of them about to keep their colonies in capital condition. But by the 18th century mankind began to realise that there was a need to look out for these free food producers and instead of leaving them to die in peace, efforts to establish bee boudoirs (apiaries) began. From the 19th century onwards, bee-keeping began.

And of course, the introduction of modern farming methods using chemicals and other bee killers (not that farmers were specifically targeting bees, you understand) took its toll and the bee population became even more beleaguered.

Innovative Approaches to Bee-Keeping

Faced with the prospect of being without honey, wax and Royal Jelly (not just a food supplement, but also used to bump up libidinal behaviour and a host of other things!), bee-keepers have sought ways of protecting and promoting bee populations. Enter the ‘City Bee’.

In places like Vienna (Washington DC and London) for example, bee-keepers have set up home with their apis on top of city landmarks. The Vienna Opera House, is one such setting. Viennese bees have a beautiful vista!

And evidence to date suggests that city bees are probably healthier than those in more rural areas. Not surprising, especially if they live in superb surroundings near the Austrian Alps, wouldn’t you agree?

They have at their disposal a wealth of culture; a heartland of history; and more world class wonders to wander round than any bee could wish for. But best of all they have clean alpine air, fragrant fresh flora and pure wellness water to thrive on.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog