Near Austria’s border with Germany, an agriculturalist let one-fifth of his farming estate return to wild meadows in order to support his neighbor’s beekeeping operation.
The hyper-cultivation around Franz Nigl’s property in Leiten, Austria, was never really “his thing,” and wanting to hear the meadows “buzzing” again, he let his good neighbor Josef Krenn, a hobbyist beekeeper, take it over.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Krenn admits. “We benefit from each other. Franz grows the flowers and in return he gets good honey from me.”
Local news outlet Tipps spoke to both men, and described the 2.4 acre (one hectare) meadow as an “oasis” of insects and flowers, with 40 different blooming plant species on which Krenn’s bees can feed.
“As far as I can, I try to ensure that nature benefits,” Nigl said, explaining his intentions. “There should be a direct obligation to cultivate flowering areas, [but] unfortunately, people today walk through nature blind and no longer know the connections. I know that you can’t do much yourself on a large scale anyway, but you can on a small scale on your doorstep.”
Nigl wants to leave an even greater area of his estate to the bees next season.
99% of all beekeepers in Austria do so as a hobby, but there are 33,000 of them, maintaining nearly half-a-million hives and still rising.
The alpine countryside is famous for wildflowers, and provided they have a safe place to hibernate through the winter, the zone can support huge populations of bees.