A German top-flight football club has set up an apiary close to its stadium as a measure to protect the environment.
Bosses at FC Union Berlin – which currently tops the German Bundesliga – said they wanted to do their bit in securing biodiversity by installing three hives which even have the club colours.
The apiary is situated in the direct vicinity of the club management’s office and the team’s home ground, the An der Alten Foersterei Stadium, in Koepenick district, southeastern Berlin.
The hives will be managed by Steffi Graeber. The 53-year-old hobbyist beekeeper told the Bild newspaper: “I’ve been approached by the club. They wanted to ramp up their sustainability efforts.”
A spokesman for FC Union Berlin said: “We hope our project helps to prevent the extinction of honey bees.
“The number of colonies will be increased next year if the busy insects feel comfortable in our apiary.”
Several allotments featuring a wide range of flowers and trees are located near the club’s stadium which is situated right next to the Wuhlheide, one of Berlin’s main forestry areas.
Beekeeper Graeber said she would start harvesting honey at the apiary – which has been painted red and white in a nod to the soccer team’s traditional colours – next spring.
She told Bild: “I cannot predict the amount of honey. This will very much depend on the weather.”
Graeber pointed out that the social insects would not be negatively affected by road traffic or noisy supporters attending FC Union matches.
The Alte Foersterei Stadium has a capacity of just over 22,000. Three of FC Union’s four home matches in the current Bundesliga season were sold out.
Around 170,000 residents of Germany engage in beekeeping, according to the country’s Federal Association of Beekeepers.