Beekeeping for the environment
In late 2018 we decided to start beekeeping at our main office building in Willebroek. The idea was simple at first, keeping bees was a way for us to further embrace the environmentally friendly nature of our company. . Bees are a vital part of the ecosystem, they are excellent pollinators, facilitating the growth of plants, trees and flowers which serve as food for other animals and insects. Therefore, by beekeeping in our office roof, we would further help our immediate surrounding and ecosystem.
At our office, there are three employees who are beekeepers. They volunteered to look after the bees and be the leads in the honey extraction process. Their main task was to regularly check the beehives to see if the workers had tried to make a new queen. A new queen would mean the creation of a swarm which could lead to a possible intrusion in our neighbourhood.
We currently house three beehives on the roof of our building. During summer and autumn, each hive can reach a population of 40,000 bees, whilst in the winter months that number falls to around 1,500 bees per hive.
Our colleague and lead apiarist Geert (see below), has six beehives at his home. He had some interesting insights about bees:
“During the winter, the bees form a cluster around the queen. The worker bees then vibrate to create heat. They rotate from the outer ring of the cluster to the inside when they get cold.”
" Bees have a very accurate internal gps. If you move their hive just 3 meters to the side, most of the bees will die as they will continue to return to where the hive was originally located"
Here is an image to illustrate bees during winter:
Honey extraction is a process that any employee can get involved in and proved to be a fun activity with the plus side of tasting honey as fresh as it comes. This process is separated into three stages:
1st - Our beekeepers first extract the slides with honey and bring them to our warehouse.
2nd - Our volunteer colleagues use a wax scraper to remove the hard wax off the surface of the honey.