Balcony flowers help city bees keep busy

bees Anyone can set up a beehive as long as it's 10m from the neighbours

More and more bees are finding a home in Luxembourg city and producing a larger amount of honey than in the countryside due to the diversity of flowers.

Urban beekeeping has picked up over recent years and now bees are finding an increasing amount of pollen in flowers from balconies and city parks.

Beehives can be found across the city – in gardens, small plots and rooftops – and many beekeepers are opting for urban beekeeping to guarantee a larger quantity and a more diverse composition of honey.

Parks and balconies full of flowers

“There are a lot of urban beekeepers in Luxembourg,” Michel Wilwert, an ecological advisor and beekeeper, explained. “Because of pesticides, pollution and urbanisation bees are finding it harder and harder to do their job in the countryside.

“There aren’t enough flowers or flower meadows nowadays in the countryside and the diversity of flowers and the amount of flowers in town is greater.

“Flowering season is also shorter. It used to run from spring to autumn but now there are not enough flowers in July.

“In towns a lot of people have a balcony and often put flowers out and there are a number of parks which are covered in different flowers and are well maintained.

“In countryside gardens the floral areas are less dense.”

Anyone can set up a beehive

Anyone can set up a beehive and while most consult their neighbours in advance, there is no obligation to do so and a neighbour cannot refuse the hive.

The requirements are that the beehive must be placed at least 10m away from a neighbour, separated by a 2m hedge.

The hive must be declared at the local commune but it cannot be refused. The aim of declaring it is to have a written trace of who owns local hives in case of an incident.

“Most beekeepers belong to a club and each region has its club,” Michel added. “Beekeeping is appealing to more and more young people and through the club, the older generation can share tips and advice.”

Michel is part of Bee Together – a group of volunteers who aim to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and biodiversity – which also organises events and workshops.

In June a free of charge workshop looks at pesticide-free plants that attract and benefit bees and butterflies and in July they will be taking people to visit a beehive in Syren to discover how a bee colony works and the importance of biodiversity.