The decline of honeybees–which are not native to the United States–has been a hot topic of research for some time. The bees are dying from colony collapse disorder, a condition in which worker bees suddenly disappear, and that has killed an estimated one in three colonies a year since 2006. Fortunately, many companies, from farmers to hotels, are working to save the bees.
Environmentally conscious group Fairmont Hotels has a swarm of new guests staying at the hotel chain’s D.C. property. The hotel has installed three beehives on its roof, which house over 100,000 Italian honeybees. The bees are part of the hotel’s culinary program, and sous chef-turned-beekeeper Ian Bens expects the bees to produce some 300 pounds of honey in the first year. The honey will be used in soups, salad dressings, ice cream, and pastries at restaurant Juniper, and eventually Fairmont hopes to turn the honeycomb into candles and soap. Canadian-based Fairmont has beehives at its Vancouver, Toronto, and New Brunswick properties as well.
In the past two years ice cream giant Häagen-Daz has donated some $500,000 to universities to promote honeybee awareness and to research colony collapse disorder. Blueberry farmers in Maine are also trying to help the dying honeybees. Jasper Wyman and Son, the largest blueberry producer in the United States, imports some 10,000 hives each year to pollinate its blueberry fields. According to president Ed Flanagan, there has been an 80 percent spike in cost of pollination in the past few years. The company just donated $50,000 to Penn State to research colony collapse disorder.
Even the 2010 Winter Olympics is doing its part. The Vancouver Convention Center, which is undergoing a huge renovation in preparations for the Olympic Games in 2010, has installed beehives on its 2.4-hectare green roof. The goal of the installation: bees bring business. According to TMCNET.com, “bees are the new ‘it’ endangered species and urban planners and architects across… are anxious to bolster their numbers in urban settings.”
Photo: skb_inspirations via the Intelligent Travel Flickr pool
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