Berlin buzzes as it takes the fate of the bee to heart

Berlin buzzes as it takes the fate of the bee to heart

The good news from Berlin is that the city has taken the fate of the bee — threatened yet crucial to the survival of civilisation as we know it — to its heart. Climate change angst and falling bee numbers have stung the German capital into action to save these irreplaceable insects; membership of the German Beekeepers’ Association has soared, beehives have been put on Berlin office and hotel roofs, and demand is exceeding supply on beekeeper courses.

The less good news is that many of these enthusiastic amateurs do not know one end of a bee colony from another, which means Berlin now has a problem: An estimated 10,000 colonies, many of them worryingly large swarms, looking for food and habitats, and settling for balconies, window sills, doorways, motorbikes, and traffic lights.

Bands of swarm-catchers — schwarmfängers — are on 24/7 standby to lure them to safety. It’s a salutary reminder of the law of unintended consequences — which can be shortened in German to unbeabsichtigte Folge: Bees not caught are unlikely to survive.

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