It felt like Abruzzo’s bees were out in force the first week of April 2009. When other countries like the UK report that they expect the bee population to potentially be extinct with all its intrinsic problems by 2019, it was great to get out walking in the Gran Sasso meadows this week and hear a healthy happy buzz and see bees drinking in delight from dandelions & the first Spring blossoms.
Italian bees return to Abruzzo from May to October to take full advantage of an Italian region whose DOC wines ensure a higher than average use of organic viniculture compared to that of Northern Italy whose viniculture has led to the chemical poisoning of so many colonies.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated that in 2007 Italy had 1,091,630 hives, and bee mortality rate of a scary 40-50%. This serious decline or ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ (CCD) has been attributed to various causes including the Varroa Mite (vampire-like mites which sucks the blood of the bees) and the use of insecticides from commercial farming.
Abruzzo’s pure honey is famous throughout the world, the tiny town of Tornarecchio, set deep within the Chieti region produces almost 10% of Italy’s honey alone and is well worth a visit for tastings. Sadly European Union Bee Farmers unlike their arable or cattle compatriots still receive little in the way of subsidies or help from the European Union when trying to battle against the decimation of their hives from a yet unassigned assassin.
How to Protect Abruzzo Bees, the Farmers & Your Future Food
Buy local honey from locally sourced Abruzzo agriturismi and ‘bee keepers’ rather than picking up a convenient jar at your supermarket. Not only is it better for you in that the honey they produce is neither blended nor overheated but it ensures an income for Abruzzo Apiaristi [Bee Keepers] to invest in their hives and ensure they receive an income to allow them to protect the future health of their hives where ever possible.
Great Abruzzo Honeys
Acacia, Millefiori, Chestnut
Apiari – Bees
Apiaristi – Beekeeper