On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Frankfurt School officially inaugurated its new high-tech beehive. As an intern at corporate communications, I had the chance to accompany a film crew of the “Hessischer Rundfunk”, covering the new bee-project. The “Hessischer Rundfunk” is the public broadcaster for the German state of Hesse. Shooting started at half past nine with two cameramen, one of them an expert in drone footage, and a journalist. Her interest in the topic at hand was great and so they kept on filming and asking questions until three o’clock. Antonio Gurliaccio, the professional beekeeper taking care of the beehives at Frankfurt School, was keen to answer all questions and did so always with a smile on his face.
Antonio has all reasons to be happy, because he is now also looking after a new, high-tech beehive. Equipped with state-of-the-art cameras and sensors it takes bee monitoring to a new level. Data on light-intensity, rain, fine dust, weight and bee-activity are measured. This data is made available online so anyone can, with the help of live-data and video, keep track of the bees. The project’s goal is to increase awareness of the importance of the honeybee amongst students and pupils.
Market dominance of honeybees – The big nine
Worldwide there are a total of 370,000 plant species, out of which 170,000 are only pollinated by the honeybee. Humans know about 20 million different insect species, which pollinate plants, but there are only nine different species of honeybees. Consequently, these nine honeybee species have a “pollination market share” of almost 50 per cent, which is quite impressive. The importance of the honeybee is huge and we would not know of most of the fruit and vegetable varieties without this genus. The honeybee has systemic importance; it is too big to fail. That is why we have to do something to preserve and in the next step strengthen the honeybee population. The new beehive is another initiative to get honeybees into the cities, not only to improve the environment, but also to do good for the people living in the cities.
Our life today is not possible without the honeybee. That is why its preservation is of great importance. With this project, the university sets an example and underlines its future-orientated alignment.
Global warming has serious impacts on our environment. We experience these frequently with blazing hot summer days or severe storms throughout the year. Bees are much more sensitive to changes in whether and so the impact they experience is much greater. The youth, participating in the Fridays for Future march, has recognized the magnitude of the impacts on the environment. And so has Frankfurt School. First steps have been taken one year ago with the inauguration of the first four beehives. The bees feel comfortable in their new homes surrounded by green, flourishing roof gardens and so you regularly see them flying around on campus.
The “Hessischer Rundfunk” is going to broadcast a report about the project, which will, hopefully, raise the awareness about this project. Frankfurt School sets a good example and I hope that other institutions and companies will follow. Doing a degree course is future-orientated and so should be our treatment of the environment. Prosperity goes hand in hand with an intact environment and we cannot prosper without it. We need to preserve our environment and preserving it means to take action.