The environment of the Brussels-Capital Region will from now on be monitored by bees.
The announcement was made Thursday by the social responsibility company BeeOdiversity. Supported by Brussels companies, the project already has some 10 “surveillance sites”, and the aim is to have about 15 in order to be able to map over 80% of the region’s area through the Bee Index.
The advantage of bees compared to traditional means of environmental surveillance is that they are not limited to an area reduced in size, making it possible to collect a great number of samples in extended zones, explained BeeOdiversity. “In order to obtain food, a bee colony can gather pollen from four billion flowers per year in an average area of 700 hectares,” stated the organization.
Once analysed, the samples taken to the hive (pollen, nectar and water from the flowers) allow obtaining quantified data regarding pesticides, heavy metals, and plant diversity and its nutritional quality for the bees. “This data is then processed with the aim of establishing the status of the area and of undertaking targeted improvement actions, for the environment and for our health,” said the company.
Specifically, this “Beeomonitoring” will allow, among other things, mapping the areas most at risk of pollution, informing the largest number of stakeholders on targeted actions to be undertaken jointly, identifying the sources of pesticides and heavy metals, etc.
The results of the analyses will be presented at the beginning of 2017.