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Hotels get into beekeeping business- LA Times

Upscale hotels are using on-site beehives to bring locally sourced honey to guests and to save dwindling colonies of honeybees…

From Honolulu to Paris and from Vancouver, Canada, to the Florida Keys, honeybees have taken up residence on hotel ledges, rooftops and balconies and are busy doing what they do best: pollinating plants and making honey.

The hives are part of a beekeeping movement that has a two-fold purpose: to save the species, which has been decimated by colony collapse disorder; and to bring hyper-local honey to guests staying at these hotels.

Urban beekeeping has been growing in popularity for several years. Opéra Garnier, the Paris opera house, has kept hives humming on the roof for more than a quarter of a century.

The Obamas hopped on the bandwagon earlier this year when they served White House Honey Ale, home-brewed by their chefs with honey from the White House beehive.

But the loudest buzz comes from the hospitality industry, where hoteliers have found on-site beehives another prong in the movement to localized sourcing. Hotels are adding beehives to their properties to produce organic honey for use in a variety of areas, from spa treatments to cocktails.

At the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah — the Beehive State — dandelion and lavender honeys are popular and are served at Buzz, the resort coffee shop (montagedeervalley.com).

Eighteen Fairmont Hotels have added apiaries, mostly on rooftops. At the Fairmont Washington D.C., the hives are named Casa Blanca, Casa Bella and Casa Bianca; at the Fairmont Newport Beach, executive chef Chad Blunston works with beekeepers to extract honey for use in Bambu Restaurant; and at the Fairmont San Francisco, 50,000 honeybees produce honey to be used at the afternoon tea service.

Last month I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I could look down from my 20th-floor room and see six hives — and about half a million bees — in the center of a third-floor balcony herb garden. The bees quietly went about their business within 20 feet of the hotel pool and within 50 feet of the mammoth Vancouver Convention Centre. Meanwhile, I snacked on a selection of the hotel’s delicate honey truffles, Bee’s Knees. In the dining room, I found a small jar of honey on the table at breakfast.

Despite the interest in saving bees, their numbers continue to dwindle.

In March, the United Nations sounded the alarm, seeking international efforts to save bee colonies, which have declined as much as 85% in some areas, particularly the industrialized Northern Hemisphere, according to a report by the U.N.’s environmental agency.

The causes: pesticides, air pollution, parasites, the loss of flowering plants and a decline in beekeepers in Europe.

“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations’ Environment Programme.

“The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”

In the greater scheme of things, the hoteliers’ beekeeping efforts probably aren’t “a blip on the radar for honey production or pollination input,” said Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine.

“But the promotional value far outweighs the practical application value,” he added. From the standpoint of the beekeeping community, the hotel trend is appropriate because “it keeps honey bees in front of people all the time, and featured in a very positive light.”

The bottom line, Flottum said: “The hotel wins, the bees win, beekeeping and beekeepers win, the local flora thrive, folks who never thought about where their food comes from get a little insight into that side of the business. It’s all good.”

John Russo, the beekeeper at Carmel Valley Ranch, couldn’t agree more. He runs a program there called the Bee Experience that introduces guests to beekeeping. “When people get enthused about the bees, and want to have their own hives, I feel like I’ve made a few more converts,” he said. “That’s a terrific feeling.”

[click here to read the original article on latimes.com]

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Un-BEE-lievable: NYC Fines Man $2,000 For Not Watering His Hive

Click here to read the article on cbslocal.com

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EXCITING NEWS:
Today we started setting up a “Bee Nirvana” next to this private bass pond!

The space was generously donated to us by Dr. Robert Cassar to create a
HoneyLove Sanctuary for the Rescued Honeybees of Los Angeles.

Thank you Jeremy for the introduction… and thank you Adam for your help!
….stay tuned for more details and photos!

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ROOT SIMPLE:

From an old beekeeping book…How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey:

“This is probably the finest bee hive in the world. It was built by E. S. Williams, St. Petersburg, Florida, who spent 6 months constructing it. It holds two standard 10 frame hive bodies and a bottom board. The second story lifts off for hive manipulations. It is wired for 110 volt current, has window shades and curtains. The front plastic doors swing easily and fit snugly. There is a flag pole, also a sign, that is not pictured here. This has been displayed at the Kentucky and Florida State Fairs. It is unusual items like this that make a few fair exhibits stand out.”

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GOOGLE: Hello from the Hiveplex

“I’ve always thought that beehives are organized similarly to how we do things here at Google. Bees have a flat management structure and they adapt quickly and change roles throughout their career (nurse, guard, foragers, quality control, etc.) depending on demands. And the bees that collect nectar from the forager bees at the entrance to the hive also scrutinize it for quality. If it’s not high enough, they send the foragers back out to get a fresh start… it reminds me a bit of a Google code review!

If Google’s a beehive, then I’m what you might call a forager. I work on the culinary team and we strive to serve food that’s produced locally and grown in a sustainable manner. But we wanted to take the effort to the next level. So, with help from the Marin Bee Company, we’ve installed four hives of bees to help us be as self-sufficient as possible.

The four hives—collectively known as the Hiveplex, of course—are each painted in one of Google’s colors. We’ve placed them close to large areas of wild flowers on our campus, far enough away that anyone who isn’t fond of bees can easily avoid them, but close enough that anyone who wants to can walk over and watch them at work. Many Googlers have signed up to contribute to beekeeping and honey extraction efforts, and, come the harvest in the fall, we’ll round the season off with a series of cooking classes and candle-making sessions for all those who have signed up to help.

With this project, we’re also hoping to raise awareness of impact of Colony Collapse Disorder(CCD)—a phenomenon in which worker bees abandon the hive for reasons that aren’t fully understood. This has become a cause of global concern and in some parts of the world more than 50 percent of the hives have been found abandoned. This has grave implications for us all as bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 70 percent of the fruit and vegetables we eat. The loss of bees has serious consequences for plants, wildlife and human survival. (You can read more here.)

To see our newest colleagues at work, check out the album below. Someday we might create a Buzz account for our bees so you can all track their progress and follow our bee keeping activities—but we promise not to drone on.”

Click here to view more photos from the Hiveplex!

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