Biomonitoring Using Bees
Prague Airport has been keeping bees since November 2011 when Prague joined other major airports which use bees to monitor air quality around the airport in order to reduce the negative impacts of air traffic on the environment. Today, there are eight beehives in the Southern part of the airport. The main goal of beekeeping is to monitor the air for the levels of contaminants through bee products.
Pollen as an Indicator of Environmental Pollution
The main indicator of environmental pollution is pollen. It is sent to the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague where it is analysed for the content of heavy metals and organic residues (polyaromatic hydrocarbons). Bees collect pollen from as far as three to five kilometres from their hives, making it possible for the analysis to reflect the state of the environment around the airport. Biomonitoring using bee products is based on the monitoring of fruit and crops, which has been ongoing for several years, and expands it.
Czech Honey Certificate
Every year, liquid bee honey is analysed by an accredited laboratory for the content of water, sugars, and hydroxymethylfurfural which indicates the level of enzyme activity in honey. The enzyme activity is one of the reasons why honey is valued as part of the human diet. The enzymes are bee products added to honey by bees during the transformation of nectar. Honey produced by Prague Airport’s bees has been receiving the Czech Honey (Český med) certificate since 2012, proving that it complies with the requirements of food legislation and with the quality standard of the Czech Beekeepers Union. Since 2013, we take part in the Czech Honey competition which requires the honey not only to meet strict standards, but its physical and chemical properties, sensory characteristics and the overall aesthetic impression and accuracy of the label information are also assessed. Since 2014, we have repeatedly been awarded the gold medal for meeting these requirements.
High-tech Bee Monitoring
Since 2019, we have been monitoring the bees in cooperation with Softech spol. s r.o. by using their system of bee colony electronic monitoring – ProBee. This system allows us to monitor the hive weight, temperature and the sounds of the colony.