PRAGUE – Beehives concealed on the rooftops of buildings in the Czech capital have been producing some of the Central European country’s finest honey, as documented in a video released Friday by EFE.
While beekeeping in an urban environment is not unique to Prague – the practice exists in Vienna, Berlin and London, for example – several of the city’s buildings offer a habitat suitable for honeybees, including the National Theater, the “Rudolfinum,” which hosts the Czech Philharmonic, the Botanical Garden, the Vrsovice train station, and several hotels.
The presence of these pollen-loving critters has made the Czech capital “a little healthier,” according to Zdenek Ruzicka, a beekeeper at Prague’s City Hall, which has hosted six beehives on its roof for the past two years.
The main purpose of the bee is to fertilize flowers, and thanks to them, plants are more resistant and healthier, the expert told EFE.
In the midst of an urban landscape made of asphalt, dotted with cobblestones in parts, red clay roof tiles, fumes from cars and gas chimneys, bees are busy collecting nectar and pollen from nearby trees and plants.
Unlike in the countryside, where single crop cultivation prevails and chemical fertilizers are used, the bees working in urban areas have access to a wide variety of flowers, which makes their honey unique.
Variety is paramount to the quality of the honey, according to Ruzicka.
“You can see it in the colors of the pollen that collect in the combs, every cell is a different shade,” he said.
Bees can fly up to six kilometers (3.7 miles) to gather their pollen – the main source of protein for the hive – and nectar, an important source of energy.
Prague is good for bees because its parks are automatically irrigated, which means the trees maintain some humidity during the dry season, and no insecticides are used, according to Ruzicka.