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Employee initiative takes off

The Zurich-Mülligen letter center hosts both take-off and landing. What’s the story behind nature’s little eco-friendly fliers?

Inari Kirchhofer

Rich Content Section

Beekeeper Peter Grütter (left) and initiator Rudolf Ricklin (right) visit the active bees wearing protective clothing.  Photo: Rolf Streckeisen Steiner
Beekeeper Peter Grütter (left) and initiator Rudolf Ricklin (right) visit the active bees wearing protective clothing. Photo: Rolf Streckeisen Steiner

Let’s rewind a little: Rudolf Ricklin, an employee at Swiss Post Real Estate Services, was watching a TV documentary about biodiversity, and was shocked by its findings. Bees have become endangered in parts of Switzerland because too much fertilizer and pesticide is still being used in agriculture. Rudolf wanted to do something to help. The hard-working bees remind him of the equally busy Swiss Post employees. He wondered whether the insects, which play a vital role for both nature and humans, could be settled in the unused outside area of the Zurich-Mülligen letter center. He soon got a few colleagues and the security officer Rolf Streckeisen Steiner involved to support his idea. Rudolf enquired with Verein Zürcher Bienenfreunde, a beekeepers’ association, about the requirements and whether they were interested in using the site as a home for bees. The association welcomed his suggestion and a site inspection was carried out. An ideal location was found on top of the south-east office wing, which does not have any photovoltaic systems installed on it.

The letter center roof has played host to six beehives since mid-March. The number of hives can be increased to 15 if the bees thrive. The beekeeper, who looks after them, would then need some help though. Interested employees are to be given the chance to undergo training in beekeeping. The industrious guests should also produce a few jars of ‘letter center’ honey in future. And who knows, this delightful initiative could be replicated at other locations.

written by

Inari Kirchhofer