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Sunday, May 20 will mark the first World Bee Day - a day of awareness raising that was instituted by the UN to promote the protection of the world's ecosystem, which has been severely challenged by the extinction of many pollinating species. One of the projects that has enabled Lamborghini to excel even in the field of environmental sustainability is devoted to the theme of the disappearance of bees. The project involves bio-monitoring of the area adjacent to the Lamborghini Park using 11 hives, with the goal of examining the level of air pollution. Bettina Maccagnani PhD, an entomologist who has carried out research projects at Bologna University, Trento University and for the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, explains this research project.
“Bees are particularly suited to the study of environmental pollution for two main reasons,” says Bettina Maccagnani. “Air pollutants that have an impact on bees often have repercussions on human health. Also, there are a great many bees. On average, a hive consists of 40,000-60,000 bees, 10,000-15,000 of which are foraging bees; that is, bees whose job is to collect on the outside what's needed for life inside the hive. Their inclination is to explore every corner of the surrounding area in search of vital resources, which means that every day, the foraging bees in a hive take samples from environmental matrices, and harmful substances are deposited in the hive's matrices. Honey, pollen, beeswax and bees are then analyzed to find possible environmental pollutants such as heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, and also pesticides (190 active ingredients) used in agriculture as well as public and private gardens.”
Einstein seems to have said that if bees disappeared from the face of the Earth, man would have only four years to live. “It's better to say that if bees disappeared, the planet as we know it would cease to exist,” says Bettina, “because bees are irreplaceable agents that pollinate a huge variety of the fruits and vegetables we eat. Also, bees enable a great number of wild plants to produce seeds; in fact, their flowers have evolved to take advantage of insects as pollinating agents. The conclusion is that without pollinators, plants with flowers wouldn't even exist. In other words, ecosystems maintain their balance because bees ensure that plants reproduce: 80% of plants depend on insect pollination, and 1/3 of fruits and vegetables depend on pollination by bees.”