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Bees on airfields

Peter wrote:

Presumably you are looking for somewhere warm?

Not necessarily – just somewhere friendly with lots of pastures around. We’ve done 3 airfields and we are scheduled to set up 2 more next week, with 5+ in the pipe. The logistics are getting interesting!

wleferrand wrote:

had to be inspected by a vet before being exported

I’d loved to have seen this process.

“Yes, these are bees. Very good.”

It is something I would like to get involved in because my girlfriend has just got into beekeeping. There is lots of suitable space at EGTN. The trouble is that she tells me the beekeeping folks in the UK are not keen on imported colonies for some (apparently) technical or health-related reasons. Perhaps it is just that there is a correlation between beekeepers and brexiteers and this is their natural attitude, or there could be more to it. I will ask some more detailed questions.


@Graham I would love to hear about these reasons.

For a long time people moved bees around with 0 consideration for genetic pollution or importing diseases; that’s how we’re having that global varroa mite issue now. I’m trying to play by the rules, hence the vet inspection at export, with a certificate. And I’m sure that they did a good job, looking for varroa mites and foulbrood. In France there are no local “original” bees anymore, they are all hybrids of some sorts. I started with “local” colonies and for a year every week it was a fight at the apiary trying to not being eaten alive. Now I’m working with known lineages and I don’t need gloves anymore – it’s a world of a difference.

In this project I’m actually thinking of experimenting with breeding bees across different airfields to recapture the genetic diversity that we lost through inbreeding over the past decades. I’m following a beekeeping course (via Cornell’s e-learning program) and they insist that that diversity is key for the resilience of the colony (you don’t need 100% of the bees to be able to handle a given disease, just 10% will do, but you need these 10%). But that will come later, now it’s all about bootstrapping the colonies and figuring out the logistics before getting bankrupt.

If you want to set up something in EGTN we don’t need to import Carnica bees, I’m sure we can find local colonies. I can share our mobile app so that all the data ends up in the same place (it gets ingested in an ELK stack so that we can build dashboards, etc). We don’t even need to use the same hive format, we can source everything locally. It would be terrific to scale to the UK on year 1 :)

Fair warning: caring for bees takes a lot of time and energy, they have a lot going against them.

wleferrand wrote:

Special mention to the Italian controller who got enthusiast about the bees.

How did he know? Was he surprised by the answer when he asked how many souls/POB?

I sent an email to who I thought would be responsible for this sort of stuff at the airfield I had in mind but as of yet have received no reply. I’m going gliding on Sunday (first time in the air since October! It’s been long…) so I’ll try and hunt somebody else down and chase them up.

Last Edited by NinerEchoPapa at 22 May 17:47

NinerEchoPapa wrote:

How did he know?

I asked to stay below the airway floor to avoid cooling the cabin too much and I explained why on the radio (it’s so calm on the radio these days). In a hindsight, the bees generated way enough heat and we could have climbed, but we were also trying to dodge some storm cells and visibility was a bit better at 8k than higher.

I’ve a few slides (in french) that describes the project. (@jujupilote is the one to be credited for the name) Ruchodromes_pdf. I can translate them to english if it helps.

Last Edited by wleferrand at 22 May 19:33

How did he know?

He reads EuroGA

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

He reads EuroGA

Actually I mentioned it in the flight plan comments. Serious question here: are the comments available to the controller?

Now in Francazal (LFBF) :-)

And in Besançon (LFQM), the 5th installation.

The next step now is to validate that the logistics work before adding more airfields to the project.

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