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Tenant Essity brings new co-workerzzz to Greenhouse BXL…
31 May 2021 | Greenhouse BXL
*Note: this blog was originally written and launched on 15 September 2020 – and was completed and updated on 31 May 2021 with the sequel of this story.
You may already know it, but we repeat it with a lot of love: we are proud of our co-workers and tenants and would like to put them in the spotlight. Today we will tell you more about one of the initiatives of our tenant Essity. Because recently Greenhouse BXL has been buzzing with activity… Literally! On the green roof of the Parkinghouse, next to our hub, Essity installed a number of hives. Do you want to know more? Keep reading!
The beehive project
Not so long ago, Essity chose Greenhouse BXL as one of their new locations. And completely in line with the Greenhouse concept, they took quite a few sustainable initiatives. This resulted, among other things, in the installation of LED lights, bottled water being replaced by tap water, a staggered waste collection, and so on.
They also wanted to make a commitment to the environment.
Bees are crucial to our food supply. Through pollination, bees are helping to produce fruit, vegetables and seeds. It appears that as much as 30% of food production depends directly or indirectly on pollination by these insects. There are 350 different species of bees living in Belgium, half of which, unfortunately, are threatened with extinction. These two elements were sufficient for Essity to take action and to place hives on the roofs of all the Essity buildings in Belgium – in order to contribute to a better biodiversity.
As Greenhouse BXL now also has its own bee colony, Essity manages hives at all their Belgian sites.
Sustainability is embedded into the DNA of Essity: they want to create value for people, nature and society. And that is something that Greenhouse can fully identify with: in our vision too, sustainability is a priority, just as in that of Intervest, Greenhouse’s parent company. We are therefore very proud to welcome the Essity’s bee colony to Greenhouse BXL.
Meet Vincent Burhain and Eric Godderie: the in-house beekeepers of Essity who made this project possible.
Bees can adapt perfectly to living situations in both urban and rural areas. Essity grasped this knowledge with both hands and decided, under the leadership of colleagues Vincent and Eric, to install hives on all their buildings. By creating controlled and safe environments for the bees, they are contributing to combatting global bee mortality
Greenhouse BXL: a safe home for the bees
Obviously, Essity wants all hives to remain healthy for a long term. In order to guarantee this, they first seek for the perfect environment. For example, the hives must not be installed in environments where pesticides are spread and there must be sufficient food for the bees in the surroundings.
The location of the hives is also important: it is crucial that the sun does not shine too early on the hives so that the bees can enjoy an optimal temperature.
We are extremely proud that the roof of the Parkinghouse proved to be a suitable location to become a new home for the Essity bees.
Six months later: how are the bees doing?
In a nutshell? They are doing great. Where we started last year with two large hives, we have now added two more little ones. This became essential in order to keep up with the growth of the swarm – and to give the new bees the necessary space. The new hives are still small, but we plan to have four large hives by the end of June 2021.
And that’s not surprising: when the males start doing their job (which they do for about three months a year), the result is a queen laying 1000 eggs a day. In combination with an outside temperature of at least 14 degrees, sufficient water and food in the area, it is easy to see how such a swarm can burst out of its seams. An average swarm consists of 40.000 bees, but at the peak of the bee season this can rise to up to 90.000 bees per hive!
Was a lot of intervention needed?
Not at all! We chose our surroundings carefully, which guarantees food and water. In addition, the extra flowers sown on the green roof are starting to come out well. So our bees can work and survive completely independently.
However, we do help with the maintenance of the hives: it is important that they maintain a comfortable temperature of 36° inside, so we have to be alert to cracks or leaks. That is why the beekeeping season always starts in September: we make sure there is enough food, that the hives are in good health, and so on.
Did the winter go well – and spring brings us nice temperatures? Then it will be shown in the production, because in that case our bees bring no less than 5 kilograms of honey per day to the hives!
What happens with all the honey?
Before answering the question, it is important to emphasise once again that our Essity bees do not have to make honey for us We keep and care for them for the environment: bees are after all crucial to our ecosystem.
The honey is a great benefit, but it’s not for profit. We simply distribute the honey among our colleagues. So we consider this delicacy an annual gift from our buzzing buddies, but we’ would be just as happy to see and care for them if they weren’t making honey!