Green Campus now produces honey

At the Green Campus of the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), people are waiting for the first batch of self-produced honey. Two beehives were installed at the Green Campus on Midsummer Eve, one of which is located on City of Lappeenranta land in the Swäbisch Hall park and the other on University properties of Finland Ltd.'s land in the yard of Skinnarilan Hovi.

The beehives are cared for and maintained by the Fortress of Lappeenranta's beekeeper Jouko Kolhonen.

Kolhonen's main product is the Fortress's own honey. Now, Green Campus also has its own honey, and Kolhonen believes it will taste great. The honey's specific taste depends on the hive's location and the nutrient content of the surrounding vegetation.

"This area has a lot of white clover and willowherb, which make for a soft tasting honey. More clover will be planted here next summer. The area is very rich in flora that can be used for pollen and there is water nearby, as well. These hives will produce so-called wildflower honey."

The idea of placing beehives on the Green Campus came from Pertti Kolari, Director of the South Karelian Institute. This was affected, for example, by a survey made of the flora in Skinnarila, which supported the placement of beehives on the campus.

According to Property Director Tuomo Tamper, the Green Campus honey promotes LUT's green values and practices as well as adds to the reputation of the campus park area amongst locals.

"This honey will help us cultivate some highly regarded softer values alongside hard technology. At the same time, we can utilise the beautiful nature of the campus and bring our activities closer to the locals."

Nature's own health product

Under good conditions one hive can produce 50-60 kilograms of honey in a single summer. The beehives at Green Campus are so-called Farrar hives with space for six combs per layer. One comb can take about 1.6 to 1.8 kilograms of honey. The hives are checked about every ten days.

"The hives are always disturbed by the checking, so they should not be opened more often than this. The bees always need to rebuild the supporting structures of the frames, which will take a few days."

Currently between 15,000 and 20,000 bees are living in each of the two beehives of the Green Campus. Next summer the hives will grow and production will get into full swing. The number of bees per hive will grow to approximately 50,000 to 60,000.

The summer's honey harvest demands a lot of work. After the harvest season, the Green Campus bees are taken to the Fortress's apiary for the winter.

"Half a kilogram of honey can demand up to 800,000 kilometres of flight from the hive. The bees can travel up to three kilometres away to search for building materials. Pollen is the most important of these materials."
 
According to Kolhonen, Finnish honey is a clean natural product: nothing needs to be added and nothing removed. It contains plenty of naturally healthy enzymes, vitamins and micronutrients, and it has almost half the calories of regular sugar. Each type of honey is unique in its taste and health effects.

The Green Campus honey will become part of the university's business gift range.

Further information

Beekeeper Jouko Kolhonen, tel. 040 727 7955, jouko.kolhonen@hermopiste.inet.fi

Lappeenranta University of Technology
Project Coordinator Sami Jokelainen, tel. 040 762 9387, sami.jokelainen@lut.fi
Property Director Tuomo Tamper, tel. 0 400 578 325, tuomo.tamper@lut.fi