19 May 2022
World Bee Day: discovering perfection in the apiary of Parco Pallavicino
Bees have a sophisticated and very delicate ecosystem, which is also an extraordinary biological indicator. Unfortunately climate change, which is worryingly being manifested increasingly frequently with warmer winters and springs hit by frosts, is risking the survival of this species. In 2017 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it declared 20th May of each year World Bee Day. The purpose of this is to bring to the attention of citizens, the media and political decision-makers the importance of bees and, in general, of all pollinators, namely bees, wasps, butterflies, ladybirds, spiders, reptiles, birds and also mammals, for food security, the subsistence of hundreds of millions of people, the operation of ecosystems and the conservation of habitats.
The perfect realm of bees is clearly visible in the Parco Pallavicino, a natural oasis with over 50 species of fauna in Stresa, where there is also a permanent apiary that is an exemplary case of the completely natural process of production of craft honey in Lago Maggiore and of the close relationship with the other elements of nature. The 18-hectare park contains 10-12 hives, each with its own queen.
Each year the production of honey is tied to both climatic events and the blossoming of flowers. On Lago Maggiore in the month of May, following the spring re-awakening of nature, with the progressive increase in the hours of daylight and the growth of families of bees, the flowering of the acacia takes place. It is in this period that bees are at their most active. In the following months of June and July it is the turn of the chestnut. The bees are attracted by the nectar of flowering plants, which they store, taking it to the beehive where various processes are carried out by the insects, such as dehumidification, before depositing the honey in the cells. This honey is stored by the bees to nourish themselves during winter, when the family stays in a winter cluster and activities are interrupted, or in periods when blossoming flowers are scarce.
Just before autumn ivy blooms, which bees use for their winter stocks: if this is not sufficient, then the apiarist takes responsibility for their nourishment with syrups of water and sugar and subsequently with candy sugar.
To safeguard bees, one small contribution that each one of us can make is to bring Italian craft honeys to the table, always checking the origin on the label or contacting the local producers directly.