How the bees live at Fattoria La Vialla
At La Vialla the bees have at their disposal an “oasis” of over 1,500 hectares, harmoniously divided between woods, pastures, vineyards, olive groves and arable land (naturally all cared for with organic and biodynamic methods!). This area is surrounded on 3 sides – north, east and west – by woodland and rural farmhouses. To the south, apart from the small towns of Meliciano and Castiglion Fibocchi, there are no industrial facilities, just a few neighbouring farmers (who have converted to organic methods following the “Viallino” example).
In addition to the organic methods, biodynamics imposes adequate “grazing” areas for each beehive. It requires the use of natural materials for the construction and cleaning of beehives, and natural Demeter certified wax. Biodynamics also encourages unrestricted bee reproduction and natural swarming, however it allows the original swarm – with its queen – to be collected and relocated in a hive. This method, thanks to which the new queen bees develop through natural selection, tends, over time, to strengthen the entire colony. Artificial breeding of queen bees is prohibited, as is artificial insemination and the use of genetically modified bees. During winter, the bees must feed on their own honey; the only supplements allowed are camomile tea and salt. Stimulative feeding is forbidden, as are the conventional techniques used to artificially increase productivity. There is a list of natural substances and treatments that can be used for the bees. The occasional loss of bees, or entire weaker colonies, should be accepted as part of the evolution of the species, in that particular environment.