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Vienna will become home to 2 million bees

Vienna will become home to 2 million bees

80 bee colonies will be settled on the green spaces of Wiener Linien

In Vienna, 80 new bee colonies are to be settled on the green spaces of Wiener Linien. The ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) will make honey with these “rail bees”. The first bee colonies have already been relocated to a flower meadow next to the Leopoldau U1 station.

The goal of the city is to house two million bees on Wiener Linien's green spaces by 2022, which means around 80 bee colonies. "Public transport is an ideal place for bees. Along the rails, there are often unused areas where countless flowering plants can settle," said Alexandra Reinagl from Wiener Linien.

Bees are essential for our habitat

What is more, the highway operator Asfinag is trying to make bees settle along the highways. The “Bee Highway - Bee Happy” project started a few weeks ago with employees who take care of bees and honey production in their free time as beekeepers. 50 bee colonies have now settled near the motorways.

Considering that each beehive houses up to 60,000 bees in the summer, the highway operator, therefore, creates a home for up to three million bees. Another interesting fact is that bees only fly within a radius of around three kilometres around the beehive. 

Asfinag is responsible for more than 11,000 hectares of green space. This will be enough space for a bee that covers around 100,000 kilometres to produce 500 grams of honey. 

“It is an essential part of our efforts to create habitats for pollinators and other insects through sustainable management of flowering areas and many hedge structures with native trees, junctions and margins. In addition, as is well known, we have been voluntarily dispensing with the use of glyphosate since 2015 and are now going one step further with our bee highway,” explained ASFINAG board member Hartwig Hufnagl.

The “Rail Bees” project was started together with a beekeeper. Eight locations have been defined for the project. The eight areas in Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Burgenland, Salzburg and Tyrol are to be cared for and managed in an ecologically sustainable manner. Biodiversity is promoted and at the same time organic honey is produced under the "ÖBB rail honey" label.

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