In support of biodiversity and local nature, Citycon has provided homes for bees on the rooftops of Iso Omena, Myyrmanni, IsoKristiina and Liertoppen centres and is looking to add rooftop bees at more centres in the coming years.
The bees have been buzzing on the Iso Omena rooftop for two summers now. At other centres, this was the first bee summer.
“We had just established our first solar power plant on the roof of Iso Omena and started to think about what else we could do to utilise the free space on the roofs of shopping centre. We came up with the idea of rooftop beehives and contacted a local beekeeper to find out whether it would be possible,” explains Thomas Stenius, Property Manager at Citycon and the mastermind behind the beehive idea.
Bees support the biodiversity of nature by pollinating plants and trees. Bee communities are effective pollinators – one farmed nest can contain more than 60,000 bees in midsummer, and one bee can fly 600 kilometres during its lifetime. The flight radius can be several kilometres from the beehive.
However, the number of pollinating insects in the world has declined, and many species of pollinators are endangered today. This is due to the use of pesticides, land use change and climate change, among other factors. Although farmed beehives will not fully compensate for the disappearance of pollinators or wild bees, they are one way of supporting the well-being of local nature. Setting up beehives on rooftops is part of Citycon’s sustainability strategy.
“In addition to increasing the well-being of local nature, they bring us and the communities a lot of joy. We have also wanted to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators among the local community, which can have further positive effects. In Myyrmanni, we have also involved our next-door school,” says Thomas.
The well-being of pollinators can be improved by choosing bee-friendly plants and flowers on balconies and avoiding pesticides in gardens, to name just a couple of positive actions.
“Also, we would be happy to see other property owners welcoming bees as residents because beekeeping can be done basically anywhere. Bees are good neighbours that will not cause any harm, unless their beehive is disturbed,” says Thomas.
The bee communities on our rooftops produce hundreds of kilos of honey each year and each centre has had different ideas for utilising the honey. Honey has been delivered to restaurants at the centres, where people can enjoy it with a steaming cup of tea. Honey jars have also been given to the personnel working in the centres and raffled off among customers.