Domus Mellifera® Project

Be a keeper of the bees

The Domus mellifera Project aims to be an opportunity to create a new awareness of respect for and protection of Biodiversity. Concrete actions, such as the installation and monitoring of the Domus mellifera, are actions that can be summarized as being “Keeper of the bees“, a synergistic expression of all people, nature and actions.

 

The Domus mellifera Project does not only consist in positioning a shelter nest, but requires you to be aware that your actions, if carried out with passion and scientific correctness, can contribute to real positive change.

 

This is why, even before being able to physically install the Domus mellifera, the Domus mellifera Project asks for the signing of the certificate of “Keeper of the bees”, a document that on the one hand qualifies the commitment, on the other hand allows the creation of a new community of aware people, committed together with WBA onlus in the protection of Biodiversity.

Domus mellifera

How to use the Domus mellifera

The domus mellifera should simply be placed at a height equal to or greater than 2-3 m from the ground and facing south, avoiding areas where solar radiation is present all day (especially in hot areas). Population is not automatic but must not be artificially populated. Once the nests have been positioned, they do not involve any “beekeeping” management.

 

To favour the population it is possible to rub the interior of the Domus mellifera with essences and aromatic herbs, such as Melissa, Rosemary or Cedronella, as well as natural wax on the mooring rods, in order to make the Domus mellifera more hospitable. Once established by a swarm, the colony should be reported with the BeeWild app and monitored at regular intervals (about every one to two months) to assess its viability.

 

The lower opening of the nest should be opened only for any winter cleaning and only when a colony has not settled there. The bees must never be disturbed and one must never proceed with the collection of honey, combs or brood; furthermore, it is not necessary to feed it or carry out other management actions:

 

“When a colony has settled in the Domus mellifera we will have to consider it as if it were inside the hollow of a tree or a wall, we must leave it to its total naturalness“.

Why provide artificial nests for honeybees?

The use of artificial bird nests is a well-established practice as is the use of beehotels to encourage the reproduction of solitary bees. As for honey bees, on the other hand, there are very few experiences of using artificial nests, even worldwide.

 

Only in recent years Apis mellifera has been recognized as a component of ecosystems and not as an organism domesticated by man and escaped his control. Many swarms that have settled in natural cavities and that live without any management by humans, often come from hives managed by beekeepers. Similarly, beekeepers often catch swarms of which they do not exactly know the origin. Despite the intense selection action carried out by man on “his” bees, there is no difference between bees that are bred or not, although often the bees of beekeepers are not of the local subspecies. Some recent studies have highlighted how natural selection that acts on colonies living in the natural state prevails mainly those with a local genetic heritage. In fact, many unmanaged colonies are able to survive for several years, and it seems that it is natural swarming that facilitates tolerance to the action of the Varroa parasitic mite.

 

Despite the belief that the natural colonies of Apis mellifera had practically disappeared, in recent years the reports have increased and to study this phenomenon, an app has been created, called BeeWild, through which it is possible to survey, and above all monitor, the unmanaged colonies. of Apis mellifera, without causing them any disturbance.

 

Since nowadays the presence of natural cavities (large decayed trees or natural cracks in the rocks) is very scarce, bees are often forced to choose cavities present in man-made artifacts and buildings. In fact, most of the reports collected to date with the BeeWild app relate to wall cavities. Sometimes these colonies settle in locations where they can create problems and therefore need to be removed. Providing artificial nests we can therefore overcome the shortage of natural cavities and prevent bees from occupying problematic cavities.


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