A Head Full of Honey
Even the ancient Romans knew that it's all in the name! It seems that Florian Rieder from Steinegg was not exactly born with his passion but given it with his name. As a beekeeper, flowers (Latin: flos, floris, from which the name Florian is derived) are literally the all-important ingredient of his honey, with which he sweetens life in Steinegg!
Since Florian was allowed to help out with the honey harvest for the first time on his aunt’s farm, he has been fascinated by bees.
The sugary-sweet honeycomb must also have played a not inconsiderable part in this: a flavour that still reminds him today of the summers of his childhood. And the wish was also born on his aunt’s farm to own his own beehives one day and work with the busy insects as a beekeeper.
“Actually I originally wanted to bring my dream to life during my retirement,” remembers Florian, who to begin with only pursued his love of nature as a woodsman. But then a friend asked him at short notice if perhaps he wouldn’t like to take over his beehives. Since it is rare for fate to knock at the door so loudly, Florian eventually agreed, took a course in beekeeping and today is the proud daddy of a colony of bees!
Yet the signs were not at all good at the start of Florian’s beekeeping career.
The initial euphoria was followed by a real damper.
“In the beginning, of course, lots of bees stung me, but I coped quiet well with that and even began to imagine that I would soon become completely resistant. Just like the old beekeepers,” says Florian.
But things turned out differently. One day a bee stung him again, but his body did not respond with indifference, as he had hoped, but instead he suddenly had an allergic reaction. An allergy test confirmed the ironic truth: Florian is allergic to bees! But the young Steinegg beekeeper had long been not only literally, but also metaphorically, stung by the beekeeping bug, and never once considered giving up his new hobby.
“Nevertheless, I am often stung by a bee,” says Florian. Today he protects himself with a hood, gloves and the necessary amount of caution.
“But it is still an unpleasant feeling, because you never know how your body will react. The fear is simply always there.”
However, the enjoyment always outweighs that fear, explains Florian: “I just love working with the bees, especially trying things out and experimenting.” Incidentally, anyone who is fortunate enough to get hold of a jar of the coveted honey can see for themselves just how successful of all of this work has been!
As well as keeping bees, Florian gets particular pleasure from raising queen bees. “It is always a wonder for me when it works, even though I understand the biology behind it.”
The young beekeeper has his beehives just down the hill from Steinegg where there is an excellent spot for the bees, even if it is not so great for Florian himself. Since no paved track leads there, he has to carry everything that he needs down the steep mountain meadow by himself.
Admittedly, a couple of sheep make his life as a beekeeper that little bit easier. Since the meadow next door to Florian’s beehives was overwhelmed by uncontrolled growth that was threatening to choke the flowers, he quickly brought in the ruminants to help. Since then they have kept the growth under control: a solution that is really to the taste of this nature-loving Steinegg native!
Thanks to this symbiosis, the bees have their flowers, the sheep have their grass and Florian has more time for beekeeping. And the villagers of Steinegg have more of Florian’s deliciously sweet honey!
"Mir Kloatznstingl" are stories from Collepietra, insights into what makes us locals, who we are, what we do and love, what moves us. Let the videos move you, too: Breathe our life, feel our pulse beat, feel our feeling for life.
Author: Sonnleiten Dolomiten Residence