“Bees for Biodiversity”: a new WBA Project

19 January 2015

January 18, 2015 a new WBA Project named “Bees for Biodiversity” (Api per la Biodiversità) has been launched in the office of the Edmund Mach Foundation in Pergine Valsugana (Trent) at the presence of many apidologists coming from different regions of Italy. In 2014 the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) established that Apis mellifera is a species seriously threatened of extinction because of many factors: genetic impoverishment, action of several parasites (first of all the acarian Varroa destructor), lost of habitat and a heavy use of pesticides. Furthermore, the rule of Apis mellifera is very underrated in maintaining the natural equilibrium. The main goal of the Project “Bees for Biodiversity” is to spread out diffusely the beekeeping through the diffusion of a type of “natural beekeeping” based on a model of hive with low equipments and technology (Kenya Top Bar), but with efficiency in controlling illness and parasites by means of biological techniques. This “micro beekeeping”, or backyard beekeeping, must not be competitive with the activity of the traditional beekeepers, but it must pursue the maintenance and diffusion of Apis mellifera and its flywheel effect in the conservation of the biodiversity. This network of little apiaries should contribute to reinvigorate the genetic makeup of Apis mellifera and to spread the knowledge of the problems concerning bees in these last times, also supporting the productive beekeeping. During the meeting the President of WBA, Paolo Fontana, researcher entomologist at the Edmund Mach Foundation, described the Project and discussed about its development. Among the activities to realize WBA already announced the publication, in Italian language, of the volume “The thinking beekeeper: a guide to natural beekeeping in top bar hives” by Christy Hemenway.
At the meeting were present also Marco and Lorenzo Valentini of Bioapi (Sansepolcro, Arezzo), a well-known organic farm working in the field of beekeeping, very involved in formation activities. Their direct experience and their long research developed in the field of beekeeping with Top Bar hives and other “natural” hives added depth and substance to the debate.
A first group of beekeepers available to use Top Bar hives in a cooperative way was formed. A team to define a shared project of hive to realize in spring 2015 was also constituted. The assignment of the team is not only to create a prototype, but also to realize it, to reduce the costs to the minimum and to allow the eventual production of Top Bar hives by specialized joineries.
Besides WBA and Edmund Mach Foundation, other Institutions working in agriculture and environmental protection, beekeepers’ Associations and beekeeping farms are expected to be involved in the Project. For more information write to: info@biodiversityassociation.org otherwise paolo_api.fontana@fmach.it