Bee TV at the National Horticulture Show

The white igloo at the National Horticulture Show in Würzburg presents the HOBOS bee project. (Photo: Hartmut Vierle, HOBOS team)

Look into a beehive without the fear of getting stung: HOBOS (HOneyBee Online Studies) makes this possible at the National Horticulture Show in Würzburg.


The 2018 National Horticulture Show started a week ago in Würzburg. The motto of the show is “Where ideas grow”. The horticulture show will run until 7 October in the newly developing city quarter “Hubland” covering 28 hectares on the grounds of the former US military garrison “Leighton Barracks”. Landscaping and biodiversity are this year’s highlights. Because most flowering plants are heavily dependent on pollinating insects such as honeybees, these creatures also represent an important subject area at the horticulture show. Therefore, the National Horticulture Show in Würzburg is dedicated both to the butterfly and to the honeybee for an entire summer.

Bee Project at the National Horticulture Show

The bee project with two pavilions and an open area awaits visitors to the National Horticulture Show in the area behind the ticket booth to the “Gardens of Knowledge” (Wissensgärten). Visitors can reach the entrance to the “Gardens of Knowledge” via Am Galgenberg street and Magdalene-Schoch street. In the comb-shaped joint pavilion, beekeepers from the Lower Franconia Beekeepers’ Association in Würzburg (UBZVW) inform visitors about the loss in biodiversity in areas used for intensive farming and explain which plants are bee-friendly. The Institute for Apiculture and Beekeeping (IBI) at the Regional Office for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG) in Veitshöchheim is especially committed to the key role played by honeybees in terrestrial ecosystems: 80 percent of our indigenous food crops and wild plants rely on honeybees for optimal pollination. In front of the joint pavilion, they have also set up two colonies in hives and one colony that will soon hang freely from a roof in a natural comb structure. Presentations and readings on honeybees are held in the library at the National Horticulture Show.

Tracking Bees with HOBOS

The prize-winning teaching, learning and research portal HOBOS (www.hobos.de) is presented in the white igloo pavilion (a “freedome” tent). The portal was developed by acclaimed and internationally renowned bee expert Professor Dr. Jürgen Tautz. The complex behavior of the honeybees can be observed here by means of a wide array of videos running on monitors in comb-shaped housings. Visitors to the National Horticulture Show experience first-hand what the bees are doing in their dark hive via live streams transmitted by endoscopic cameras. This makes it possible to better understand the complex life of the honeybee, the third most important animal used for livestock after cattle and pigs. The data are provided by the HOBOS bee colony in Würzburg, which is located at the nearby university campus “Hubland Nord” and which is monitored day and night with cameras and sensors. Visitors are also able to watch other bee movies. Another special feature: Visitors to the horticulture show can see themselves as thermal images on a 75-inch monitor inside the bee igloo, allowing them to analyze which parts of their body are particularly warm or cold.

Bee Day 2018 in Lower Franconia

Sunday, 22 April, is Bee Day 2018 in the region of Lower Franconia, which was organized by the Lower Franconian Beekeeper’s Association in Würzburg. There are many exciting items on the agenda. The HOBOS pavilion will be staffed for this entire day. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact HOBOS co-founder Hartmut Vierle on Sunday at the pavilion.

Kristina Vonend