In May 2020, a renaturation project by the Beenature-Project association by Torben Schiffer was launched on a Demeter fruit plantation on the edge of the Altes Land in northern Germany.
The plan: The farmer receives free pollination for his fruits, the bees receive species-appropriate habitats with the tree cavity simulations "Schiffertree". The old cycle can arise anew.
The bees in the tree cavity simulations are returned to natural evolution and selection. If a nest dies during winter, it's cavity will be repopulated in the coming spring by the swarms of the surviving colonies. The system is self-sustaining; no human intervention is necessary.
The aim of the Beenature Project is to establish a stable bee population in the region within 5 years that does not require any beekeeping measures.
Spring and summer 2020 have shown that the Schiffertrees are gladly accepted by the swarms. The key features of the habitats that probably convince the scout bees are: round entrance hole, small volume of approx. 35 liters, several meters from the ground.
About 6-7 weeks after the initial colonization, there was a second swarm wave in some of the habitats. The queen of the swarm that had moved in before has swarmed again, the so-called "Heidschwarm". So there is a second breeding break, as the bees swarm away from Varroa.
The project was expanded in autumn 2020 to include the surrounding forest. In preparation for the next swarming season, the first Schiffertreeplus (with 10 cm wall) has been installed in the forest, and further tree cavity simulations will follow.
Altes Land (Old Land)
Beenature-Project by Torben Schiffer
Naturally Occupied Nests
Influenced by agriculture