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Honey bees and environment

Majella National Park is characterized by intact environments rich in floral resources, constituting a territory where apiculture can be carried on in a sustainable way.

Beyond having an important role in natural and agri-environmental ecosystems, honey bees are a useful instrument to survey the environment's state of health, and are also considered as real environmental sentinels for their ability to efficiently highlight warning or danger situations caused by polluting sources or human activities.

The Park Authority, aiming to verify the environmental quality and to study possible causes of alterations, has promoted the project “Biomonitoraggio ambientale attraverso lo studio dei mieli e pollini prodotti nel territorio del Parco Nazionale della Majella” (Environmental biomonitoring through the study of honeys and pollens produced within Majella National Park). The monitoring is carried on by placing of apiaries in various territorial settings where samples of honey bees, honey and pollen are collected and then analyzed in the Operating Unit laboratories of the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany Regions.

During the first phase, in order to extend our knowledge, two electronic control units were used and managed by the CNR Atmospheric Pollution Institute, which usually uses them to examine the air quality in urban areas. The investigated polluting agents of the environment were heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and gamma-emitter radionuclides. As the results show, the Park isn't affected by significant polluting phenomenons. The observed results are very low or under the quantification limit, thus describing a situation without negative influences in respect of contamination and confirming the environmental intactness of the protected area.

Image of apiaries
Image of a work of bees
Image of a beekeeper
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