The occupants of the Praga Studios office building have had their first taste of the outputs from their “teammates” in the beehive on the roof terrace.
There is definitely one place at the Praga Studios office building where work keeps on going regardless of Covid-19. That’s the roof terrace on the eighth floor of this office building in Prague’s Karlín district. Because these “offices” are home to three bee colonies.
At the end of this summer, the building’s tenants could all enjoy the premiere of these bees’ hard work. “This building’s first honey harvest met our expectations. We harvested a total of 24 kilograms of honey, which we distributed to the companies in the building,” explains Jakub Zadák, a facility manager from Skanska Facility.
What was this year’s honey harvest like? “I can state for all of our employees that the honey was truly superb,” says Mona Nayefová, who works as a community manager at the Scott & Weber cowork.
Veronika Černíková, Event & Office Management Coordinator at Edwards Lifesciences, has this to add: “We let a portion of the roughly 40 glasses circulate freely, so that people could put honey in their drinks right inside their office. We’ve set aside a second portion for colder days.”
Photo by Mona Nayefová/Scott.Weber
And yet this year’s harvest was not a certainty. When the new beekeeper took over the colony in spring, he determined that a strong wind had apparently overturned one of the hives, killing its bees. “Two colonies carried over through last winter, and in the spring, we formed a new nucleus, which bred its very own queen,” Tomáš Pižl describes.
In terms of technologies, the Praga Studios building is one of the most modern in Central Europe. And its rooftop hives are hi-tech too. They are equipped with scales and several sensors measuring temperature and atmospheric humidity – and in the future, they may also analyze the bees’ sounds (which are said to reveal when they’re getting ready to swarm).
The total weight of the beehive growed from 60 to almost 80 kilos in less than two weeks – as you can see on the infographic by the beekeeper Tomáš Pižl.
“Thanks to online data transmission, I know how much honey the bees are producing. If the weather’s good, I can come and harvest the honey. This increases the whole process’s efficiency, and I can harvest as much as I can. Because every colony eats several hundred grams of honey a day. So if I’d have come a week later, I would have gathered several kilograms less,” explains this young beekeeper, who is, among other things, the co-founder of Beescale, a startup focused on sensors and apps for “precision agriculture.”
Even though the hives are a mere two meters or so from the edge of the walkable terrace, no conflicts occurred between bees and employees all year long. Only once, when the staff of a maintenance company were cleaning the facade, did bees begin flying around the hives in any real quantity. They may have been agitated by the odor of the cleaning agent, Pižl speculates.
All the same, the building’s owner is satisfied with this untraditional animate accessory, and so Jakub Zadák states that next year, a new hive is to be added to the roof of Praga Studios.
“The bees flying in the summer live up to about one month. And so the individuals born now, right between summer and autumn, will be waiting until spring,” adds the beekeeper. “Over the winter, there are several thousand individuals in the hive, but in spring, their numbers increase exponentially, for example from 10,000 bees to 70,000.”