A peaceful buzzing sound comes from the hives containing thousands of brown bees – our native Nordic breed which for hundreds of years have adapted to our cold climate but today is at risk of being extinct. Along with the Norwegian Bee Keepers Association, NordGen has worked hard for saving the brown bees. A network for beekeepers has been formed and a conservation plan has been published. And the effort has paid off. According to Tor Erik Rødsdalen, leader of Norsk Brunbielag, the bees have a brighter future than ever before.
– Right now, we can’t find the time to produce enough brown bees to all the keepers that are asking for them. In Europe, there’s a great interest for brown bee queens now. This year we easily could have sold 100 queens in an instant, had we only been able to breed as many, he says.
Tor Erik Rødsdalen have almost 200 colonies of bees in Rena, close to Lillehammer in Norway. For 40 years he has kept brown bees, the native breed of the Nordics which was here long before modern breeds like Buckfast was imported. Today, the brown bees (or black, or dark bees which they’re also called) are endangered, although there is a population in Norway, where the honey from brown bees also is actively marketed.
– The preservation of the brown bee is not something which is done in a museum. The brown bee needs to have a good health and be productive. That’s the way forward – to have more bee keepers choosing the bee breed and, in that way, securing its future, says Linn Fenna Groeneveld, Senior Scientist at NordGen Farm Animals.
Bees of all shapes are important pollinators. If they were to disappear, our entire food system would be at risk, but it would also cause economic repercussions. The honey production in Norway alone is worth 200 million Norwegian kronor.
In other words, there are plenty of reasons to keep brown bees or at least buy a jar of brown bee honey.
The story of the brown bees is merely one of many examples of how NordGen contribute to benefits in the society. Discover a few more in our brochure available for download here.