The bees are back at Sara kulturhus

Lars Olov and his son Albin opens the box to look after the bees.
Lars Olov and his son Albin opens the box to look after the bees.

The roof of Sara kulturhus will again become home to a bee colony, a sustainable project that can benefit the city’s biodiversity if the bees are happy there.

Skellefteå 27 juni 2023 09:55

Bees have been living on the roof of Sara kulturhus the last few years. The idea came from the beekeeper Maria Burman who was given the go-ahead from then CEO Maria Ekberg Brännström to start the project. As Maria will no longer keep beehives on the roof, the cultural centre contacted the Skellefteå beekeeping society (Skellefteåortens biodlarförening) in order to find a new beekeeper. This year Lars Olov Lindgren has put his beehives on the flat roof of the 20-storey building. 

– There could be another two beehives, depending on how this goes, says Lars Olov.

The challenges the bees face is the weather such as wind and how sunny the spot is as well as the amount of flowers the bees have access to around the city.

Emma Pantze, who is now in charge of the beekeeping project, is positive. She says that the beekeeper with his knowledge will evaluate how the bees are doing and if there, for example, would be a need to put plants on the roof she is open to find a solution for that.

– An important part of the cultural centre’s profile is the sustainable mindset, Emma says. 

She says that the rent-free agreement between the beekeeper and the cultural centre includes a stipulation that the Wood Hotel will buy the honey. 

– To them, locally produced food is key to their business, and it can hardly get more locally produced than this, says Emma. 

Once a week Lars Olov is up on the roof to look after his bees – wearing protective clothing and with an epipen close to hand as Lars Olov is very allergic.

– Keeping bees in urban environments is a fun experience, Lars Olov goes on to say. Although he thinks that urban beekeeping has more of an effect on biodiversity in southern Sweden as nature up here is healthy and seems to be dealing better with climate changes. Green deserts – fields of monoculture crops only and no flowers – is a bigger problem for the bees down south. 

Lars Olov also says that in nature two beehives is not a lot which is why they do not have much of an impact. He does add that beehives placed next to a strawberry field increased the weight of the strawberries by 35 per cent. 

Lars Olov and his son Albin opens the box to look after the bees.

Beekeeping close to the activities in the building – could the bees fly into the cultural centre or the hotel rooms?

– No, there’s no risk of that. The bees want to be with each other where they live. However, they could start swarming and swarm in the wrong place. Here in the building we have reviewed our protocols and everyone has been informed that if it happens they are to call the beekeeper who must then come and move the bees to where they belong. Emma says.

Lars Olov says that the bees cause no harm at all when they are swarming as they are then full and satisfied and looking for a better place to live.

– It’s most likely that we can find them around a nearby green area and we then need to retrieve the queen and collect the bee colony. 

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