Milan gets buzzier with 1 million bees in designer hives

Italy’s financial and fashion capital of Milan has become a little buzzier with a project that mixes biodiversity with art

MILAN -- Italy’s financial and fashion capital of Milan got a little buzzier on Thursday with a project that mixes biodiversity with art.

A bee collective introduced 17 new colonies to new designer hives, bringing to 1 million the city’s population of honeybees cultivated by the Urban Beehives project. Creator Claudia Zanfi said the project aims to “create an intersection between artistic language and biodiversity.”

The art is in the form of hives designed by international artists and the biodiversity comes from the bees, which help pollinate plants in the city’s expanding green spaces.

“Urban Beehives is a redevelopment project of urban green through the reintroduction of bees in the city,’’ Zanfi said. “There always have been bees in the city, but creating a public space for them is what is new.”

Starting next week, Zanfi's group Green Island will offer courses and workshops at the park on beekeeping and the bees' critical role in helping maintain a healthy planet.

Two years ago, the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organization sounded an alarm that declining bee populations pose threat to global food security and nutrition.

"The bees have a fundamental role for our lives, but also for the life of the planet,'' Zanfi said.

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