“The abbey is a fantastic biotope for bees”
Staf Kamers installed his first hives at the abbey's tithe barn in the 1980s. Now there is a beautiful, modern bee shed with 15 to 20 hives. Staf is re-establishing one of the abbey's original functions. “Park Abbey is a fantastic biotope for bees”, says the city bee-keeper.
“I have a passion for bees and the way they work”, declares Staf (67). “One day I was talking to Brother Franciscus about this. He asked me why I only kept two hives. Well, I simply didn't have room for more because we had a small garden. He offered me the opportunity to place some hives at the abbey.”
Staf placed hives under a lean-to against the tithe barn. This was a great idea because Park Abbey is a fantastic biotope for bees. “In the spring they fly to the fruit blossoms, then to the wild chestnut trees. Sometimes we have full honeycombs in May thanks to maple trees, blackthorns and hawthorns. Then come the wild flowers, the Spanish chestnuts and the lime trees.”
From father bee-keeper to city bee-keeper
The Norbertines realised ages ago that bees like being at the abbey. There was even a father bee-keeper who had a reference book on breeding honey bees. “There used to be a bee shed behind the Provisor’s House. The bees supplied the abbey with honey as well as wax, which was used to make candles”, explains Staf.
A beautiful, modern bee shed with 15 to 20 hives was installed in 2016. City bee-keeper Staf is in charge of about 800,000 bees during the summer. “The City of Leuven also planted special trees that produce enormous quantities of nectar and pollen. This is ideal when no other sources of nectar and pollen are available”, says Staf.
You can visit the hives at the plant exchange market (8 April 2018), on Heritage Day (22 April 2018) and on Open Monuments Day (9 September 2018). You can also send an e-mail to Staf, or phone him on: +32 486 65 33 68.