Ingo Buschmann has been working at Siemens since 2002. His current position is at Siemens Energy in the Dynamowerk Berlin at Siemensstadt, where he’s Head of the Siemens Energy training center. This year, Buschmann has also started pursuing his hobby on the roof of the Dynamowerk. He’s a beekeeper, and he established two bee colonies here. The colonies will do more than just produce honey: They’ll also help with the transformation of Siemensstadt2.
Mr. Buschmann, how did you come up with the idea of putting bee colonies on the roof of the Dynamowerk at Siemensstadt?
It was actually an idea that came from my hobby. I started beekeeping four years ago. The main reason I started was because we have fruit trees at home. The trees were not producing much fruit, and I wasn't sure whether it due to frost, a lack of pollination, or something else. My brother and I started egging each other on, and finally we decided to give beekeeping a try. It was around 2017 when we started with two colonies. Now it’s grown to 10 to 12 colonies on my end.
And how did you make the leap from your own garden to the roof?
When we moved out here in 2018 and modernized the premises in the office wing, I had a chance to go up on the roof. I ended up approaching an employee and somewhat jokingly offered to provide honey. He thought it was a great idea and said well of course, we should do it! Make Siemensstadt greener, and bring in the bees... After all, we know that bees aren't doing very well…
Do the bees here at Siemensstadt have access to enough pollen to collect to make honey?
Since I've spent the past two years looking out the window, I have a pretty clear idea of what’s around here. For instance, this year my goal was to set up my bee colonies here at the end of May if possible, because that's when the black locust trees bloom. These trees are an important source of nectar, and the street is lined with numerous black locust trees. There are also lots of black locusts from here across to the Faule Spree nature preserve, and there are all kinds of gardens over by the nature preserve as well. Bees have a flying range of five km. This means that they can visit all kinds of balcony flower boxes and other gardens in the area. Right now, the linden trees are blooming. They’re other sources where the bees collect nectar and turn it into honey.
The bees aren’t just tasked with making honey; they’re also helping with the transformation. How does that work?
A start-up in Belgium has developed a pollen trap. They provided me with instructions and asked me to place the traps on the beehives where the bees live. When bees entering the hive pass through the pollen trap, some rub off the pollen on their legs which lands in a collection basket. Twice a month I collect this pollen from the hives at specific intervals, mix them, and send it to Belgium.
What happens to the pollen in Belgium?
Once in Belgium, the samples are examined in the laboratory and analyzed to determine their components and the pollen’s diversity – in other words, the diversity of the flora in the area where the bees fly – and the samples are also checked for pollutants and toxins that may be carried into the hives with the pollen. This provides the details that an urban developer can use, possibly or hopefully to expand an area’s diversity and to ensure that it is a healthy environment.
Does this mean that the bees are becoming part of the biodiversity of Siemensstadt2?
Yes, I hope that the bees will play a very significant role in fostering and developing biodiversity and health here at the site. This should lead to a healthy environmental harmony on the campus and for those who live and work here.
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