The BLOCK bee project – for a sustainable future

Summer 2021 will again witness a hive of activity at our site on Verden's Max-Planck-Straße. Last year, the production facility on our premises saw the addition of a honey line.

And with more than 140,000 winged workers across four colonies – as things stand, the BLOCK bee project is entering its second year. Last year was a great success, with two nucs (nucleus colonies) being formed from the two initial colonies in the spring of 2020.

For the winter, these two nucleus colonies were then united to create one big colony that could make it safely through the season. With this kind of merger, the colonies are laid on top of each other without any barrier. The bees then mingle together, and one of the queens will prevail. From then on, she takes over the worker bees from the second colony in the hope the combined forces will see them all through the winter. Over 20 kilograms of honey was harvested, which was filled into small individually designed jars and given to selected BLOCK customers as a promotional gift.

"I think back fondly to my 30th anniversary as Chair of Verden's round table for business people, when the first two bee colonies were presented to me as a gift. At the time, I was yet to realize the impact or scale of this great project for my colleagues, for BLOCK, and for me personally. But one thing was clear from the start: we're going to make something really great out of this!"

Wolfgang Reichelt, CEO 

Within the business, the task of looking after and caring for the bees is performed by our very own BLOCK Bee Task Force. This was founded in 2020 by BLOCK employees with an interest in the subject, who were trained over the course of last summer by experienced beekeeper Heinrich Kersten.

Further reinforcements arrived in April 2021, when another colony of bees was purchased. We therefore started this bee year with a total of four colonies, with additional nucs already established. There are various ways of creating nucs. One of the simplest and most popular ways is to form nucs via the brood comb. This involves taking one or two combs from one or more thriving colonies in a nuc box and moving it to another location – in order to ensure a degree of physical distance too. Otherwise, many bees would fly back to their original colony and the nuc would stay weak. Our nucs have currently found a home at our Factory 2 site in Verden. The worker bees will then produce a new queen from the latest brood.

A suitable environment has also been created around the beehives. To give bees the shortest possible route to their food source and therefore reduce the energy they use during flight, there are two flower beds directly next to the beehive at BLOCK's factory 1 site. Last year, one flower bed was sowed as a food source for our tiny flying colleagues. This year, the flower area has been further extended to double its original size. As well as catering for the BLOCK bees, this diversity of flowering plants adds further value by serving as a habitat for other insects and small animals. So the BLOCK Bee Task Force is embarking on the new season. 

Honey harvest – the big day of the bee season 2021!

At the end of June 2021, our colleagues at the BLOCK Bee Task Force harvested the "liquid gold!"First, the honey was extracted from the combs with a centrifuge, then poured through a sieve, and stored in special honey pails in readiness for the subsequent maturing process. To ensure the honey keeps its soft consistency, it needs to be left to stand for around two weeks and stirred now and again. The honey is then filled into jars. Despite the sometimes frosty temperatures in the spring, around 30 kilograms of honey could be harvested.

Freshly drawn honey – the amateur beekeepers could not resist sampling the honey directly after centrifuging.

Some of the work involving the BLOCK bees is done at weekends – with a helping hand from the youngest members of the BLOCK beekeepers' families. A great project for a sustainable future. One of many BLOCK projects that generate added overall value for both the environment and society.

From left to right: Hendrik Schmidt, Constantin Mund, Kai Heinemann, and Maik Möllmann, with support from their families

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