Building Stronger Honeybees, with Airports

by Kristin Hugo, via Yes! Magazine
Seattle-Tacoma Airport is home to many kinds of flights, but we’re not just talking about Boeing 777s. The large tracts of empty land on the site are now home to a half a million honeybees, part of a project intended to improve the health of the region’s pollinators.

In 2011, Bob Redmond of The Common Acre, an organization that works to strengthen community through art and gardening projects, called the commissioner of the airport with an idea. He had heard about beehives being placed around Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and thought it would be a good idea to borrow. Airport staff agreed.

Why put bees around an airport? The loud and potentially hazardous activity at an airport does not mix well with residential or commercial development, so airports tend to be surrounded by large, bare tracts of land. The land around Seattle-Tacoma Airport is publicly owned, but access to it is restricted. That’s great for beekeepers, who prefer to keep their hives away from the general public.

The project, called Flight Path, boasts 18 beehives housing 500,000 bees. The bees will contribute to the ongoing conservation projects of the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport.

“We really see this as a win-win for the community,” Christina Faine, media specialist for the Port of Seattle, said.

The project is a response to the declines in the honeybee population due to a condition known as “colony collapse disorder.” Just last winter, 31 percent of honeybee colonies in the United States were lost, according a study by The U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Redmond says he hopes that airport projects like Seattle’s will breed hardy, genetically diverse bees that can later be distributed to beekeepers.

While one apiary won’t fix the causes of colony collapse disorder—which are complex and poorly understood—it will improve local pollination and hopefully inspire more individuals and organizations to keep bees.

“My dream is that this becomes a pilot project—no pun intended—that other airports can look at and replicate,” Redmond said.

Bees may seem irritating to some when they form hives near residences and sting people, but they are an invaluable part of the ecosystem.

According to Redmond, bees pollinate 70 out of the 100 plants that make up 90 percent of the human diet. Without bees to pollinate our produce, we would be limited to a narrow range of foods. And that’s not to mention honey.

In January, Seattle-Tacoma Airport will host a bee-themed art and education exhibit in concourse—you guessed it—B. The exhibit, which opens in January 2014, will illustrate the connection between food and transportation.

Originally published at Yes! Magazine, republished with permission.

Love this story? Signup to access our free eBooks and newsletters.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Frankie Perez says:

    why was my comment deleted?

  • Frankie Perez says:

    How do you compare to existing products?

    We have been compared to other products and we are found to be superior by beekeepers that have used other products in the past and are now using BEE SHIELD™. We have some of the most prominent beekeepers in this country, and possibly the world, using our product. They are reporting that our product stands a foot above the rest and that nothing compares to our product on the market.

    What is in your product?

    BEE SHIELD’s formula is a proprietary formula of natural organic ingredients. This formulation of ingredients is a scientifically proven a-mixture process that is ours exclusively. We are sure you can appreciate that we need to protect our unique formula as we would not want our product to be compromised. Bees need to be more sustainable and with BEE SHIELD™ we offer the ability to accomplish that task.

    Do you have documented tests?

    We continue doing research. We have references available from organic beekeepers that have used our solutions with great success. The viral load in bees is currently being conducted to further prove the power of BEE SHIELD™ in protecting the bees. We, at 1st light trading, know that it’s a combination of both field trials and lab work that people want to see because every field is unique and every bee special.

  • About Us   |   Contact   |   The Calm Earth Project   |   Our eBooks

    © 2016 Calmful Living. Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy