In the start-up phase of the project, various location options where to build the Drone Congregation Area (DCA) were evaluated. At least 6 were visited and evaluated (Puria Nuova, Valvestino, Montecampione, Val Zebrù, Robbio Lomellina, Val Fraele). In the end, the choice fell on Val Bodengo, a small transversal valley of Val Chiavenna, which has very favourable characteristics. It would seem just the right valley: it is 5 km long and rises from 1200 m to the head glacier. Access is easy with a 4 × 4 vehicle and access permits have already been requested for motorized vehicles. Currently, we are ready for the first test with 10 apidea: after that, there will be a second round.
The tests carried out on the field to verify the DCA eligibility during the summer were successful. A number of fertilization nuclei with virgin queens ready for the nuptial flight have not been fertilized or have been lost in the environment. At the same time, the Municipal Administration, and in particular Mayor Mr. Guglielmana (to whom we express our gratitude)., approved theOrdinance (in Italian) that binds Val Bodengo to the aims of the Project. Here you can also view the map of Val Bodengo with the DCA borders.
During the winter, the Project team members (Bonfanti, Valobra, Colombari) have also improved the Regulations on the use of the DCA, that can be read here (in Italian).
The following images give an idea of the fascinating mountain setting that will be the framework of the wedding flights of the virgin bees.