Honey on the runway


Genève Aéroport has six hives in its meadows that have provided 20 kg of honey this summer.

Within a short distance of the aeroplanes, six hives watch over the take-offs and landings. For the past ten years, these hives have stood proudly just a few metres from the runway. They are cared for by specialist beekeeper, Davide Tamburini, who is also Head of noise pollution control. Last Friday, he carried out the usual summer harvest, which provided 20 kg of honey. « It is actually not as impressive as it sounds, especially since we skipped the spring harvest due to the bad weather », he reveals.

This trend is similar throughout the region of Geneva. « It has been pretty disastrous for most beekeepers, due to the wet spring followed by July’s heatwave », explains Pascal Cretard, President of Geneva’s beekeeping society (Société Genevoise d’Apiculture). He goes on to add that he believes production has halved in comparison with last year. In 2018, 130 kg of honey was collected at Genève Aéroport.

Regardless of the amount, putting the honey into jars is always a happy moment. « It is an interesting honey. Dark and liquid, it has an intense flavour », states Davide. The 87 jars will be offered to employees and passengers during events such as Europe’s Sustainable Development Week.  

Working towards biodiversity

Introducing bees is part of the airport’s initiative furthering the protection of the environment. Certified by the Nature & Economy Foundation (Fondation Nature & Économie) since 2011, Genève Aéroport is the largest « priority flora site » in the region, thanks to the many rare species in bloom across its 117 hectares of natural meadows. « By providing the foraging bees with more than 200 species of plants, we are safeguarding an essential link required for biodiversity », confirms Pauline Delessert, Assistant Head of environmental projects.

After the summer harvest, Davide will feed the hives so that they have enough energy to survive the winter. Next spring, the bees will return to Genève Aéroport’s meadows to hopefully produce a more promising amount of honey.