Bees are important not only due to the production of honey and other substances. First and foremost, they help monitor the quality of the environment and pollinate both cultivated crops and vegetation in nature. They are, therefore, indispensable for the environment and life. “The successful honey-breeding shows that the environment at the Spolana chemical plant is significantly improving. Today’s Spolana meets all emission limits and has a minimum impact on its vicinity, which is evidenced, among other things, by the quality of honey. We want to further expand the breeding in the years to come, but we do not intend to start any mass production. We use the honey from Spolana as a small gift for our corporate partners and visitors,” says Miroslav Falta, Spolana’s Executive Director.
The chemical site in Neratovice is surrounded by a varied fauna and flora thanks to the nearby flowing river Elbe. Two years ago, beekeepers from the local organisation came up with an idea of beekeeping on the premises of the former chocolate and saccharine factory. The harvest of honey was record-high at that time, and there was extracted almost 120 kg of honey. With a 100 per cent score, this honey received a golden medal in the 2018 Czech Honey competition.
“As the bees started swarming last year due to little space in the hive, we used this opportunity to form three new nucleus colonies, thus expanding the number of colonies from three to five,” said Lukáš Karlík, Head of Energy and Water Management at Spolana Neratovice, who is in charge of the hives at Spolana. However, the swarming and the adaptation of the bees took some of the supplies, which is why last year’s harvest was only 25 per cent of the previous one. Despite this drawback, the blossom honey from Spolana was again awarded the golden medal in the 2019 Czech Honey contest.
The supplementary feeding with honey-and-sugar dough and sugar solution contributed to the thriving of all five hives this year. It was reflected in this year’s harvest that is better than last year. Honey harvesting is the high point of the annual efforts of all beekeepers. This process involves the frame collection, honey straining and extraction. Only a few people know that one bee allegedly collects one teaspoon of honey during her life. “This time, we received backing from children. They learned a lot of interesting things about the life of bees and tried the process of honey harvesting. They could make a candle from beeswax and take it home together with a jar of hand-strained honey,” Lukáš Karlík added.
SPOLANA a.s. is one of the largest chemical manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic and the only manufacturer of PVC and caprolactam also producing ammonium sulphate, and sulphuric acid. It currently employs over 700 people. Spolana has been owned by Unipetrol since 2016. The Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and production, distribution and sale of fuels and petrochemical products – especially plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it is one of the major players in the Czech and Central European markets. The Unipetrol group includes refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo with the Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolín, the Spolana company in Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes Benzina petrol station network, which is the largest chain in the Czech Republic with 418 stations. Unipetrol is one of the largest companies in the Czech Republic in terms of turnover. Last year, it earned more than CZK 129 billion and employs more than 4,700 people. In 2005, Unipetrol became part of the PKN Orlen Group, the largest oil processor in Central Europe.