bee careful is an Hero Group initiative to protect bee health and fruit diversity. The honey bee is extremely important for mankind, as the variety of fruit and vegetables around the world is only possible thanks to its tireless pollination work. Around 80 per cent of all of our crops are estimated to be dependent on pollination by bees. This is one major reason why the increase in bee mortality in recent years is a cause for great concern.
The aim of bee careful is to improve bee health and increase the bee population. The research and teaching platform “Honey Bee Online Studies” managed by Prof. Dr Jürgen Tautz is a collaborative partner. Together, The Hero Group and Prof. Dr Tautz are committed to making information about the subject of bees freely available to everyone in order to raise awareness of the importance of honey bees.
bee careful is part of the Hero Group commitment to sustainability. In order to raise awareness of the threat to the health of honey bees, the family-run group supports research through a bee station, provides education and training in schools along with HOBOS, and encourages beekeepers. As being a worldwide group with brands and products in over than 13 countries, we have a certain responsiblity for our one and only natural environment. This initiative with local activities in our subsidiaries is a first step to our commitment.
The research station is in the grounds of Schwartauer Werke in Bad Schwartau/Ostholstein. A local beekeeper both cares for the bee colony and carries out the technical maintenance of the station.
In collaboration with a bee station at the University of Würzburg, it is possible to make comparative research analyses, which make an important contribution to bee research.
These include insights into universal or location-dependent factors influencing bee biology and health, and also feedback for beekeepers derived from these.
Around the clock and throughout the year, sensors measure the temperature and humidity within the research hive, the weight of the beehive and the number of arrivals and departures per minute. The data provides clues about the life of bees. The figures for the temperature and humidity provide feedback about the status of the colony, while the weight gives information about the activities within the beehive. The busier the insects have been and the more nectar they have collected, the greater the weight of the beehive. Extremely sensitive weighing scales register all changes by the gram. The arrival and departure of bees and all goings-on in the beehive are documented by cameras both at the entrance and within the beehive. The cameras are equipped with infrared lighting. This means that people can see the activities in the dark, but the bees are not disturbed by this as the infrared wavelength is not visible to them.
The data gathered is available on the Internet, live and without any evaluation: via online streaming as moving images in real time and in easily understandable line graphs. This means that anyone can see what life is like in and at the beehive. Interested parties can also take part in the discussion about bee life and factors influencing it.
The bee research station in Schwartau is a key component of the long-term Hero Group initiative bee careful, which aims to improve bee health and fruit diversity. Other important components are the support of education and training in schools, the encouragement of beekeepers and this extensive online platform, which we are introducing in our local subsidiaries in all over the world, together with local activities.