The BEE GOOD project

"Give bees a voice"

We can all do something to protect bees.

Bees are of immense importance to us because they pollinate agricultural plants. Their global economic benefit is calculated at €265 billion (as of 2015) – something that we don’t usually hear about. Bees make delicious honey. But that’s not all: many people don’t realise just how important bees are for our society. As pollinator insects, they also make a particularly important contribution to our ecosystem. Bees are a miracle of evolution and indispensable for both humans and animals. The bee is our main pollinator of flowering plants. Around two thirds of food is directly or indirectly dependent on plant pollination by bees and would otherwise not be available at all or only in low quantities and of poor quality.

But bees are threatened with extinction. To save the bee and promote bee populations, the BEE GOOD PROJECT campaigns for expanding habitats for bees, certifies bee friendly farmers and promotes bee health.

BEE GOOD
Support pollinators with creation of new organic bee meadows by buying seeds.

If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.

Albert Einstein 

Physicist and Nobel Prize winner 

Bee Good Award

This unique award is presented each year by We For Earth in cooperation with the BEE GOOD society project. It goes to well known people who campaign for and are deeply committed to a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world making them ambassadors for bees.

The first award winners are Sting and Trudie for their many decades’ focus on hosting and protecting bee colonies. They are very much seen as role models for their generation and generations to come, as demonstrated especially by their own environment-conscious farming practices.

This outstanding project is powered furthermore by Othmar Karas (vice president of the European Parliament), Dominic Thiem (tennis pro, currently ranked No. 4 in the world), Sebastian Vettel (four times F1 world champion) and many more.

The BEE GOOD AWARD is an essential part of the biggest social project for bees in Europe, which aims at developing new habitats to accommodate up to 1 billion bees within the next few years.

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Dear We For Earth, Falstaff and BEE GOOD,

With great pleasure we accept the Bee Good Award, because we know how important bees are for biodiversity. Thank you for your trust in Il Palagio’s wines as well in our honeys and olive oil products. We have kept many colonies of bees both in England and Italy over the last three decades, and plant a rich diversity of flowers, plants and trees on our land to help them thrive. Bees play an integral role in continuing life on earth and we can all help to support their survival.

Trudie & Sting

Bee You

The BEE GOOD project provides private households with seeds for their own bee-friendly area (depending on availability) whether on the terrace or in the garden. Available as an accompaniment in punnets, from selected co-op partners, with limited free shipping

Bee Public

Larger areas such as green strips, meadows, parks, roadside verges, etc. can be converted into bee-friendly areas and nesting aids. Selected old people’s homes are also integrated into this environmental project.

Bee Friendly Farming

Together with landowners, producers, we are sowing additional bee-friendly mixtures (subject to availability) on their organic areas. These are valuable compensation areas on which bees and other beneficial organisms can flourish.

Inspiring

Together we can give bees a voice. The BEE GOOD project is an unique project. It connects the community with nature so that both can coexist on this planet.

Goals

Our main aim is to stabilise the bee population and to increase it naturally. Through the BEE GOOD project and ist partners WE FOR EARTH and BEESANDAPPLE we want to develop new habitat that can accommodate up to 1 billion bees. The basis of bee protection is the conservation of habitat, meaning the simultaneous preservation of species-specific food sources and nesting sites, as well as the removal or reduction of various threats. It goes without saying that we conceived the whole project by taking the appropriate biodiversity into account. So much can be achieved by working together. By giving something back to nature we are rewarded with amazing natural experiences.

Characteristics

Development of new habitat to accommodate up to 1 billion bees

By the community for the community

Involving all parts of society

Contribution to our ecosystem with an creation of more than 120 ha of space

Profile

• During the summer months, a beehive holds up to 40,000 bees. (In winter, a bee colony consists of about 10,000 bees.)

• For a jar of honey (500 g), a bee must fly out 40,000 times.

• The total distance it covers in these trips is 120,000 km. Bees fly at 20 to 30 km/h.

• Its nectar collecting radius is 2 to 6 km around the hive.

• With dances, they communicate favourable collection places to the hive.

• 3.4 billion bee flight kilometres have been completed for this. That’s 85,000 times around the Earth.

• 80% of our food depends on bee pollination.

Fun Facts

BEES ARE SIMPLY AMAZING.

1.
To create one pound of honey, bees have to visit 2 MILLION flowers to generate enough nectar and pollen.
2.
In her lifetime (which is about 4 months), a honey bee will generate 1/12 teaspoon of honey.
3.
3. One hive can generate 3-5 GALLONS of honey each year.
4.
When harvesting, we only take their excess and leave them more than enough to live on through the winter.
5.
The honey bee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 BEATS PER SECOND, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 MILES PER HOUR.
6.
A hive of bees will fly 90,000 MILES, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.
7.
It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee's flight around the world.
8.
The queen bee lays up to 2500 EGGS per day. The queen bee has control over whether she lays male or female eggs.
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What is happening with the bees

HONEY BEE HEALTH

So much of our agricultural productivity is dependent on the European honey bee (Apris mellifera) that it is no wonder that our attention is drawn to their plight. When the honey bee suffers, so does agriculture, and so, potentially do all who depend on the bounty that comes from animal pollinated angiosperms, the flowering plants from which we derive many of our most delicious and health-giving fruits and vegetables.
While honey bees are clearly not the only hard working pollinators that deliver a bounty to humans and other animals, their recent deaths from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) starting in 2006 have captured the world’s attention. To date, CCD has been defined as a series of symptoms, but the cause and the cure have remained complex and elusive. CCD is not the only problem facing honey bees; in fact, in 2010 the overwintering losses were at the same unsustainable rates of over 30% but the cause seemed to be less from CCD than from other problems. Below is a list of the variety of issues facing honey bees.

What is happening with the bees

HONEY BEE HEALTH

So much of our agricultural productivity is dependent on the European honey bee (Apris mellifera) that it is no wonder that our attention is drawn to their plight. When the honey bee suffers, so does agriculture, and so, potentially do all who depend on the bounty that comes from animal pollinated angiosperms, the flowering plants from which we derive many of our most delicious and health-giving fruits and vegetables.
While honey bees are clearly not the only hard working pollinators that deliver a bounty to humans and other animals, their recent deaths from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) starting in 2006 have captured the world’s attention. To date, CCD has been defined as a series of symptoms, but the cause and the cure have remained complex and elusive. CCD is not the only problem facing honey bees; in fact, in 2010 the overwintering losses were at the same unsustainable rates of over 30% but the cause seemed to be less from CCD than from other problems. Below is a list of the variety of issues facing honey bees.

The Varroa mite (Varroa destructor)
Is an external parasite that has spread from its original host, the Asian honey bee Apis cerana, to nearly all Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) worldwide. Virtually all European honey bees are highly vulnerable to Varroa mites, although some honey bee strains (VSH, Russians) show partial resistance to the mites. This mite weakens honey bees by sucking hemolymph (“blood”) from its host and by transmitting bee pathogens. A female mite reproduces by invading the cell of a bee larva just before capping. Once inside, the female lays eggs to produce offspring that feed together on the developing bee. The mother mite and her adult daughters emerge from the cell with the young adult bee host. Eventually, at high infestation rates, the mites overwhelm and kill the host colony. Beekeepers control Varroa mite populations by monitoring mite infestation rates and applying chemical treatments when mite populations become too large. Due to increased concerns over the effects of miticides on bees and mite resistance to commercial miticides, researchers are developing alternative approaches (“softer” chemical treatments, the genetics of mite resistance in honey bees, mite pheromones and hormones, and physical treatments) to control this mite.

Nosema ceranae
This microscopic fungus can weaken or even kill colonies when the majority of workers become infected. Spores of the fungus survive on wax combs and stored food inside colonies. When workers eat these spores the fungus invades the lining of the intestine. Highly infected bees cannot digest efficiently and die earlier. Beekeepers use antibiotics and disinfection of hives to control this disease.

Thus far, more than 20 honey bee viruses have been identified. These viruses can impact bees in multiple ways, including killing developing larvae and pupae, decreasing the lifespan of adult bees, causing spasms and tremors, reducing cognitive skills, and impairing wing development so that bees cannot fly. Most honey bee colonies have multiple viruses, and the levels of these viruses can fluctuate throughout the year. Exposure to other stressors, particularly Varroa parasitization, can immunosuppress bees so that the effects of the viruses are more dramatic. The only treatment for viruses thus far is to feed the colony a solution of virus-specific RNA that enhances the bees’ immune responses to these particular viruses, but these treatments only suppress the viral infections, and do not eradicate them. Other approaches that are being investigated include breeding bees with genetic resistance to the viruses.
European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius) European foulbrood is an infection that kills young bees (brood) inside the wax cells in which they develop. This dead brood becomes a source of infection spread by workers nursing young brood. Some bees can detect and remove the diseased brood and this stops the disease from spreading. Beekeepers also use antibiotics to prevent the disease.
Pesticides are usually man made chemicals designed to kill pest organisms, that may injure plants or animals including humans. Pests cause economic damage by reducing crop yields directly or by producing crop, or ornamental plant diseases, or by competing with crops, or by reducing animal and human health, or by damaging buildings and structures. Pesticides are categorized according to their intended use as well as by their chemical composition. Pesticides are widely used and are divided into insecticides/acaricides, used to control insects and mites or ticks, fungicides used to control plant diseases; rodenticides, used to control rodents; and herbicides used to prevent weeds from competing with crops, grasses or ornamental plants. Pesticides usually contain an active ingredient, with a known mechanism for killing the target pests. Pesticides vary widely in their safety to humans and the environment and are sold as a formulation with added ingredients that augment the action of the active material when mixed in water for application. More than 1200 chemicals are registered for use in Europe and are used in some 18,000 separate products sold under a variety of trade names. People who apply the more toxic pesticides must have training and a state issued license to use these materials. Some insecticides have warnings or bee hazards on their label because they are toxic to honey bees, causing honey bee deaths. If the insecticide has a sub-lethal affect on honey bees it may result in reduced larval survival, altered foraging behavior or shortened lifespan of adult bees. The extent of the sub-lethal affects is still unknown.
Honey bee colonies are healthier and stronger with access to pollen from diverse sources of flowering plants. However, floral diversity in landscapes has been reduced by intensive agriculture (single crops, few flowering weeds, limited hedgerows) and urbanization. In recent years, the pollination of early crops (such as almonds in California in February) has further increased the demand for strong colonies at times of year with few floral sources. Furthermore, changes in climate patterns may also affect seasonal availability of flowering plants. This requires beekeepers to use artificial sources (sugar syrup, corn syrup, and pollen substitutes) to try to meet the increased nutritional demands of their colonies.
Honey bee colonies are headed by a single queen who mates with an average of 12 males, and thus honey bee colonies are extremely genetically diverse. Several studies have demonstrated that genetic diversity improves the disease resistance and productivity of colonies, including their overwintering ability. Furthermore, strains of honey bees can have different traits – some forage for more pollen, while others are more adept at hygienic behavior, in which diseased or parasitized brood is removed. Several breeding programs are underway to develop stocks of bees that are more resistance to diseases and parasites, are better at overwintering in specific climates, and are productive and gentle.
The honey bee queen is responsible for producing all the workers in the colony, and she lays up to 1500 eggs a day. Poor quality queens can severely impact colony health. Queens with low egg-laying capacity can limit the numbers of health workers produced, while unhealthy queens can die or be killed by workers, causing a break in brood rearing that again limits colony growth and productivity. Poor quality queens are consistently cited by beekeepers as a major factor underlying colony failure, and a longitudinal study of colonies indicated that loss of a queen or lack of laying by a queen was one of the two factors linked to colony loss. Several factors seems to impact queen quality, including rearing conditions and mating number.

Proper management of honey bee colonies is a critical component of their health and productivity. Many of the stressors listed on this page can be mitigated by using the proper techniques. Beekeepers need to place their colonies is appropriate locations, which allow access to adequate foraging sites and are distant from areas where pesticides are being applied (honey bees can forage up to 5 km away from their colonies). Beekeepers can provide supplementary nutrition, in the form of sucrose solution or protein patties, during periods of low nectar flow. Beekeepers can monitor for pests, such as Varroa mites and Nosema microporidia, and use chemical or non-chemical methods to control these as needed. Beekeepers can minimize exposure to pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, by systematically replacing used brood comb with fresh comb. Using genetic stocks of bees that more resistant to pests and pathogens is also an excellent way to reduce complications from these two stressors. Finally, rapid supercedure of poor quality queen honey bees can lead to colony losses, and thus purchases queens from excellent sources or rearing queens locally can improve colony productivity and health. For more information, please see the Honey Bee Best Management Practices guide that has been developed by the WE FOR EARTH – BEE GOOD PROGRAM.

What can you do?

We all hear about bee populations declining. Some areas have seen the population decline by over 50%. Bees are too tiny to defend themselves, so let’s give them a hand.

Our Master Beekeepers recommend the following:.

Don't use pesticides. Or herbicides. Or any of the ‘cides. If you absolutely must, wait until dusk, after bees and other beneficial pollinators have gone home. Spray on a still evening. And NEVER spray near a hive.
Buy local honey. Yes, it is more expensive. But buying local honey supports the natural process of honey extraction and helps supports local, healthy hives. Bonus – it really does help with allergies!
Plant flowers! Easy. The more trees, shrubs and flowers we have in our yards, the better that is for the bees. That's food for them, and natural beauty for you! Something as simple as a rosemary bush will keep hundreds of bees happy. The best idea is to plant a variety of things that flower in early spring through fall, when natural food supply is scarce. Giving them access to varied food throughout the year creates stronger hives. Those hives in turn create genetically strong future hives. We believe in this.
Start your own hive. It sounds intimidating, but it is actually surprisingly easy. Our Master Bee Keepers say “For years, we had 2 hives in our tiny backyard & no neighbors ever noticed, until we brought them jars of honey. No one got stung (except for us and our dog, who tries to eat bees).”