Happy World Bee Day! With Swarm Wishes, from Hungary.

2020 is the third consecutive year that Hungary celebrates World Bee Day.

The artwork "The Beekeepers and the Birdnester" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Bees and apiculture have always been an important apsect of agriculture.

On May 20th the international agro-environmental community celebrates World Bee Day. Slovenia’s successful initiative at the UN FAO established a new tradition, calling for the attention on pollinator species and the fragile ecosystems which serve as foundation of our food security. In Hungary World Bee Day is celebrated for third consecutive year.

Besides the precious natural value and role of bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and other pollinators, their economic value came into the spotlight via the approach of ecosystem services, a concept gaining ground in the European agro-environmental policy arena. Understanding the essential role of pollinators in food production and thus agricultural livelihoods is mirrored throughout the art of centuries, as for example Pieter Bruegel’s (the Elder) painting from 1568, the “The Beekeepers and the Birdnester”: a caught moment of action of medieval beekeepers practicing the noble profession. Thanks to the well-understood economic benefits of bees, they often associated with economic wealth, hence bees became heraldic symbols. One of the best examples for that is the crest of the Barberini family of 17th century Rome. The family’s heritage is still marked on fountains, statues and church donation artefacts throughout the Eternal City.

In 2020, as the European Union member state delegations are discussing the future Common Agricultural Policy, the ecosystem value and essential role of pollinators put bees and apiculture on  the agenda of negotiations. The sharp decline of pollinator species has already called for some important action, for example the ban of neonicotinoid pesticides. The tightening regulations on chemical substances are an important pillar of pollinator protection. In the same time, supporting the stewardship of bees not only serves the species’ conservation, but also aims to improve rural livelihoods. The EU-wide support for the apicultural sector has some of the strongest advocating member states in Central Europe.

Hungary, as one of the top five honey producing member state is vocal supporter of apiculture on the European stage and the government implements beneficial tax and subsidy environment for beekeepers at home. This year for World Bee Day, the Ministry of Agriculture calls for the attention on urban beekeeping, which is highlighted by the installation of a beehive of 50-60 thousands workers on the top of the Ministry building in Budapest downtown.

D.K.

Sources:

Website of the Hungarian Government www.kormany.hu

Image credit: The Beekepers and the Birdnester. Picture by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1568. (Public domain)