With this podcast we give our community the opportunity to get to know the Giraffe Heroes behind the foundation better by gaining deeper insight into their work. Thus you will have an opportunity of a direct encounter with these personalities sticking their necks out for the common good, fighting for the social issues that matter: justice, freedom, our environment. In our podcast, commended Giraffes are talking with us about the issues that count most for them and which drive them “To Stick their Necks Out” for our common good. We offer you a direct and often very personal "look" behind the scenes of their day to day activities. What made them start fighting for their local communities? How did they manage to cope with and overcome resistance? And yes, what concerns them and which dangers do they perceive as threatening the success of their struggle? Be inspired and have fun!


episode 2: Free the bees!

André Wermelinger. A Giraffe Hero, a beekeeper

Did you know you can train a dog as a beekeeper? Did you know that the bees need your help? What is the connection between the Bees and COVID-19? In today’s Episode Tom Amatt is talking with André Wermelinger, founder and leader of the NGO Free the Bees, Fribourg, Switzerland. He’s also a Giraffe Hero and will be talking among other things, about what could be a solution regarding todays bee keepings problems and how he fights to save the bees. Also, how can the bees be treated in a way that they’re still able to adapt to the climate change, as they have adapted to the evolution in the last 45 million years. This Episode it’s all about humans. About working for the bees and the trees and a society getting healthy again.

**Keywords:** Climate change Bees. beekeeping, bee colonies Varroa mite: Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis. The Varroa mite can reproduce only in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies. Your opinion on bee dying André? -several factors from the outside, as pesticide, but also beekeeper is responsible. Bee production – prevention from swarming. Treatment, organic acids. Bees can’t adapt to their nature under this condition. Comparison between bees and cows or any other husbandry Animal Aren’t cows and so on not in the same way affected? Yes, we’re doing the same, but with honey bees it’s even a lot more, having also lost biodiversity (resources in the nature) at the same time. And also, cows are not as important for the ecosystem as bees. Exploiting bees has quadrupled, cows only doubled Isn’t the bee only a semi- husbandry Animal? On one way yes -, but it’s kept as a husbandry though they are wild animals Is this the key argument from the organization free the bees? Yes, because they are linked to natural selection. And even though natural selection can be a horrible thing it’s very important for them because they have to adapt, otherwise they won’t survive the climate change etc. So are they able to survive the Varroa mite? Link to COVID-19? Yes, there is indeed. There are processes and behaviors, that the bees are able to protect themselves/immune system. We know, that they can coexist, we know it in a scientific and practical manner. But we also know if we try treating them then they won’t learn to adapt to live with them. The Varroa mite is only one problem today so we have to find another way to deal with it. That is a really fascinating. Our subject is climate adaptation, or climate change. So if I remember correctly, bees have a history of some 45, or scientifically at least 30 million years. This proves they are very adaptive and have survived many extinctions. So it’s interesting, that they are now threatened by human species and civilization. Yes, that’s true, bees can cope with many things and in the last 100 years we have cut the natural evolution through beekeeping who feed and treat and prevent from swarming, so under this condition they don’t adapt to new conditions. So these are the solutions we’re looking for at free the bees You as a participant of our crowdfunding, you and your organization are offering some very interesting rewards. There seem to be even bee dogs or things, that are able to deal with these problems or explain please what a Klotzbeute is? By the way you can call it log hive in English – just a hollow peace of a tree. So their most important thing is their habitat – and since bees always lived in trees, and we know their natural habitat have some very interesting parameters and factors of humidity etc., so we try to reproduce these with hollow trees and went down to learn how in the middle age the beekeepers kept the bees in a more natural manner.,age%20from%2055%20to%2065. Now we went a step further to understand the tree cavity and helped us to produce a lot of them to give the bees back their habitat and all the rest is done by nature That’s fascinating, that means I can go to free the bees and they can show me how to do it and I can take it back to the garden? That is right yes, we give courses how to produce honey in a more natural way, so if you really want to know we can show you in two days, needs some muscles and sweating. So if you would like to give a habitat but don’t have time to build it, you just order it and we send it. You hang it and hope they will come Sounds very good, I invite everybody to order one. What is a swiss tree? Yes, that’S right. So instead of doing all this work of carving out a tree we have a swiss tree, which is much easier to produce It’s the monitored, natural environment Yes, we have different Swiss tree lines -some have their focus on the habitat where you can open and have a look. Others where you can even act as a beekeeper and even produce a little honey. Now the most fascinating reward – you offer a beedog which can do the work much faster. Yes, there is the illness, American Foulbrood, you can tell from smelling – but only when it’s too late. So we decided to train dogs, so they can detect it in a very early stage. It’s a very interesting project because in the first time we can. Check beehives without opening them and stress the bees and especially tell if they are ill or not Well that sounds like a real breakthrough so you apply the sensitive noses of the dogs to detect if they are healthy. Yes, it’s like an innovation in beekeeping sustainability Natural bee swarm. A word about trees? Bees are dependent on old trees. Also on a variety of trees, otherwise you have a lack of food. Next Podcast about trees. Vision to the crowd? We’re facing challenges which we can only find solutions in the whole civilisation. We try to look for solutions but everybody really has to think for themselves and hope everybody can try to help and bring themselves in.```

We are proud to share every week inspirational stories from remarkable individuals. Stories that come from many different places. Each Giraffe's story is unique with the underlying theme of overcoming challenges present in all. Take a look at each individual experience, and although each person is different, they all have one thing in common: Heroism. We want to hear your stories, too. If you'd like to tell us about your front-line hero, visit us at You´ll find the Giraffe Heroes Stories every Tuesday on Spotify, iTunes, our Homepage and every other place, where you hear your podcasts Join us again next week!


 2020-09-08  29m