Beehives in Raffinerie Tirlemontoise’s Longchamps site contribute to a higher biodiversity
Raffinerie Tirlemontoise has set in Longchamps two big beehives up. The settling ponds are an ideal place to welcome the beehives as they will contribute to a higher biodiversity around the ponds.
Bee colonies decrease year after year
Set a beehive up is not something that is done easily, it has to be carefully thought of and prepared. Laurence Philippart, Process Manger & QSE and cousin of a beekeeper, considered the setup of a beehive around the settling ponds after she watched a documentary on bees. If you did you know it already, it has become harder and harder for bees to survive, resulting in heavy consequences on agriculture, humanity,... Bees contribute to up to 70-80 percent in the pollination process of apples, pears, strawberries, cucumbers,… to name a few. In other words: without bees, there will be no apple or strawberry. And if you think further, bees have therefore, after cattle, the most important role in the preservation of food for humanity.
Longchamps, a “Maya commune”
Laurence continues: “We actually have here in Longchamps the perfect home for bees: we have several hectares of land with many different kinds of flowers and only a few people walking around. Why not use them for a good cause ? ”
Furthermore, Longchamps is a “Maya commune”, named after Maya the bee. The goal of this project is to raise awareness amongst citizens about the bee issue, but also to contribute actively to finding solutions: support to local beekeepers, plant bee-friendly flowers, decrease the use of pesticide,… The idea of Laurence fits therefore perfectly in the commune policy.
Biodiversity in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy
On April 20th, the European parliament adopted the report of MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy. This report states that losses to plant and animal species within Europe must be stopped by 2020. The preservation and restoration of damaged ecosystems should be higher on the political agenda , and biodiversity should also be integrated into other policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, transport and industry. This initiative within longchamps ties closely in with the report.
Balance between biodiversity and industrial activities
Shortly after developing this idea, Laurence met with a local beekeeper who is not so much into high production of honey, but very active in the protection of the bees. Together they looked for the perfect spot around the settling ponds to minimize the industrial impact of Longchamps’ factory. The aim is to find the right balance between biodiversity and industrial activity. It is not to transform our settling ponds into a natural reserve.
In brief, a nice project that perfectly ties up the high biological values of Longchamps. Indeed, in case you did not know, ornithologists also often visit Longchamps because its settling ponds hold many rare birds.
Did you know?
A winter bee can live up to 9 months, whereas a summer bee will barely reach 6 weeks.
A queen bee can live up to 5 years but is usually replaced earlier.
The queen lays eggs from January to November. At full capacity, she can lay circa 2500 eggs per day, amounting to circa 150,000 a year and 500,000 in her lifetime!
A bee is stuck at a flower and has a maximum rage of circa 3 km.
The flight speed of a bee is around 30 km per hour.