A beekeeping expert in charge of an apiary at one of the biggest airports in Germany has rubbished claims that installing hives near runways was a bad idea.
Ingo Fehr works as a beekeeper at Hamburg Airport.
Confronted by Zeit Online with the claim that apiculture and aviation might contradict each other, Ingo argued: “That’s not correct. In fact, it’s a perfect match. The Hamburg Airport premises are one of the biggest green areas in the city.”
Ingo’s hives are situated on the edge of a forest near the runway of the airport which counted 11 million passengers last year. The honey Ingo is harvesting is regularly given to airport staff as a present.
Ingo called the location “an ideal habitat for city bees.”
He explained: “We’ve got a wildflower meadow, trees and a pond. It’s perfect.”
Ingo established the airport apiary with two colonies in 1999. Today, he manages six colonies consisting of 200,000 honeybees.
Asked whether customers could consume the airport honey without any concerns regarding potentially harmful substances in the air, Ingo told Zeit Online: “Absolutely!”
He explained: “We’re sending samples to the Institute for Apiculture in Celle twice a year.”
Ingo said additional tests were being made at another research centre in southern Germany to ensure the highest-possible quality standards.
He added: “To put the figures into perspective, I’m also handing in samples from my own hives situated in an allotment gardening area in Buechen around 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the airport. I’ve received almost identical results.”
More than three tonnes of honey have been produced at the airport apiary since its first season 24 years ago.
Asked by Zeit Online how he got into beekeeping, Ingo said with a smile: “My father-in-law is to blame. More than 30 years ago, he asked me to give him a hand. The following year, I was the proud owner of three colonies.”