20 May 2021

Union Investment bee project: 27 new sites for honey bees plus wild bee boxes

•    “Imke” bee project in conjunction with Berlin-based “Stadtbienen” beekeeping association
•    120 bee colonies comprising around two million bees

Good news to coincide with the UN’s World Bee Day – the second phase of Union Investment’s “Imke” environmental project is going ahead in conjunction with the Berlin-based “Stadtbienen” non-profit beekeeping association. Two bee colonies per site are being established at 27 more properties across Germany and Austria and, for the first time, at two locations in Switzerland. The new locations include the „Neue Balan Haus 27“ in Munich which is part of the UniImmo: Deutschland portfolio, the „The Plant“ in Nürnberg which is part of the Urban Campus portfolio and the Hotel Holiday Inn Hamburg Hafen City which is part of the UniInstitutional German Real Estate portfolio.

During phase one of the project last year, 66 bee colonies comprising over a million bees took up residence at Union Investment. That initial portfolio included the EMPORIO office building in Hamburg, the CityQuartier DomAquarée complex in Berlin and the LAGO shopping centre in Konstanz. In future, there will be 120 bee colonies totalling around two million bees living on Union Investment’s rooftops.

Additional wild bee boxes

The aim of the project is to help protect biodiversity by boosting the bee population. As well as supporting honey bees, Union Investment wants to contribute to the survival of all species of bees. This year, therefore, a wild bee box will also be installed at all existing and new locations where possible. These boxes are designed for all wild bees that nest above ground, allowing them to lay their eggs in tubular holes of different sizes.

Unlike the honey bee, most wild bees are solitary. In former times, wild bees benefited from the structural diversity of small-scale agriculture. Due to increasing industrialisation and the growth of sealed surfaces from residential and road construction in particular, these bees now find they have fewer plants available for food and fewer suitable nesting places.

Focus on ecological and sustainable beekeeping

Professional beekeepers from the local regions who are experienced in ecological beekeeping will care for the bees and look after them all year round. All the bee boxes are manufactured in conjunction with the Berliner Werkstätten für Menschen mit Behinderung, an association of workshops for people with disabilities, using wood from sustainably managed forests. They are designed to help the bees build natural honeycomb. Ecological beekeeping practices also ensure that the bees are able to survive the winter on their own honey; only the surplus is harvested.

Before the bees are transported to their new homes, all properties are checked for suitability through joint inspections by beekeepers and property/facility managers. A prerequisite for setting up a bee-friendly habitat is to find a location that is technically suitable for the bees and sheltered from the wind. Because bees have a flight radius of up to five kilometres, they are happy to be housed high up on rooftops.

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For Union Investment Real Estate GmbH

Astrid Lipsky

Astrid Lipsky

Manager, Marketing/Communication

+ 49 40 34919 4923