On the occasion of World Bee Day on 20 May, the growing population of 600,000 Lamborghini bees is busy monitoring CO2 levels in the area surrounding the super sports car manufacturer’s Sant’Agata Bolognese headquarters. With 13 hives established in the Lamborghini Park apiary, around 120,000 of the bees forage within the local area and provide data for the company’s environmental bio-monitoring program, initiated in 2016 as part of its commitment to safeguarding the ecosystem.
Through its partnership with the Audi Environmental Foundation, last year Lamborghini established new ‘technological’ beehives, featuring instrumentation to measure the internal and external temperature, humidity and wind speed. They also contain electronic scales to weigh the hive, in order to remotely monitor whether the bees are collecting enough nectar and pollen and whether the family is growing in line with expectations. The two technology beehives have an integrated SIM that can transmit the measured data.
One of the hives also has two cameras, one internal and one external, which film access to the hive and show if the bees are working normally. The second hive has an electronic bee counter and draws graphs that compare the measured data with the number of bees entering and exiting the hive. This information helps researchers understand how climate change can affect the development of bee colonies, and enables timely action to be taken to sustain them in abnormal seasons. The long drought of 2021, for example, reduced the apiary’s annual production by around 100 kg of honey.
Through their intensive collection of nectar, pollen and water, foraging bees are efficient and targeted foragers in an area of 3km radius around the hive, including not just the Lamborghini Park where the apiary is located, but also the surrounding countryside; the industrial area where the company is located; and the town of Sant’Agata Bolognese. From the analyses of the hive matrices Automobili Lamborghini, in collaboration with entomologists and apiologists, can detect a wide range of pollutants: from pesticides used in agriculture and on urban and private green spaces, to heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and many others.
For Lamborghini, the bee bio-monitoring project is not just about responsibility toward employees and their families, but also toward the local area, in order to ensure a healthy environment. It is a commitment to safeguarding the ecosystem, within which bees play an active and essential role. The apiary project forms part of Lamborghini’s integrated global sustainability strategy, which involves both the entire range of products and the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory: an area of 160,000 m2 that achieved CO2-neutral certification in 2015 and maintained even after the doubling of the production site over recent years.
World Bee Day was established by the UN in 2017.