Vancouver market hosts honeybees

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VANCOUVER (AP) — Honey, we’re home! Two honeybee colonies, made up of nearly 50,000 pollinators, now live on the roof of the Fisher’s Landing New Seasons Market, part of the regional chain’s new “Bee Part of the Solution” campaign.

The goal is not only to provide the bees with a safe place to raise their brood and make honey, but spark further dialogue on the precarious plight of the important insects. By next spring, the rooftop bees’ ranks could grow to more than 120,000.

The Portland beekeeper who was hired to help kick-start the campaign said it might just raise awareness about dwindling bee populations and ongoing threats to their survival, such as pesticides, parasites and disease.

“A piece like this is a great way to start that conversation,” said Damian Magista, owner of honey company Bee Local.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that beekeepers have been struggling in recent years with higher-than-average yearly bee losses; some have lost up to 90 percent. The alarming “colony collapse disorder” phenomenon was first noticed in the winter of 2006.

Bees pollinate a majority of food crops in the world. The Washington State Department of Agriculture estimates the value of plants in the state that are pollinated by bees is more than $2.75 billion.

The Port of Seattle recently donated property by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport so The Common Acre nonprofit can create a honeybee habitat.

Related projects are popping up across the country.

Bike-a-Bee in Chicago brings beehives via bicycle to green spaces, while Bee Public in Indianapolis also places and maintains bee colonies around the city. And rooftop bee hives just like at New Seasons have been showing up across the country, even on top of New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria, where honey is harvested for use in the hotel’s kitchen.

“It’s become a larger movement,” Magista said.

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