19. May 2023 Berlin

BeeOmonitoring: Siemensstadt bees back in action

Ideal conditions for the bees this year

Just in time for World Bee Day on 20 May, the bees of Siemensstadt Square are back from their winter break. Already in their third generation, they fill the air above the roofs of Siemensstadt Square with their busy activity. But they only produce honey as a sideline. Their main job is as scientific assistants in the BeeOmonitoring project - a method for recording biodiversity. The pollen of bees tells us a lot about the plant biodiversity of their habitat. The Belgian start-up BeeOdiversity analyses this at regular intervals with the help of DNA metabarcoding. The evaluations so far have been very positive: With 58 different plant species and a share of 74% wild plants, BeeOdiversity certified that Siemensstadt Square has an above-average biodiversity.

Ingo Buschmann, amateur beekeeper, and foster father of the Siemensstadt bees, raves about an exceptionally good start to the new bee season. He let them overwinter in his garden in the countryside. In contrast to the previous winter, all two colonies survived. In 2021, one out of three colonies had fallen victim to the Varroa mite. This winter, Ingo therefore paid special attention. With success: the loss this year is only between 10-15%, which is very low. "In the worst years we had losses of between 40-50%. That hurts," says Ingo.

Since last year, a hive scale has been helping to monitor the health and work of the bees - in real time. Their condition and productivity can be deduced from their weight and the brood temperature in the hive. In an emergency, targeted measures can be taken.

Another reason for the good start: spring is taking a particularly long time this year. The flowering is developing only slowly. This gives the bees the time they need to fly over everything, and the colonies can grow organically accordingly.
This year, however, Ingo is most enthusiastic about the honey productivity of his bees - even if this is only a by-product of his beekeeping activities. They brought in 1.8 kg of honey on the very first day. And the pollen trays are already full to the top after two weeks. "There is a lot of flowering at the moment and that is very positive for the development of the Siemensstadt bees and especially for the BeeOmonitoring of Siemensstadt Square."