Why Are Landlords Putting Beehives on Their Roofs?
The last several years has seen commercial real estate assets being built and remodeled with different sustainable, or green, features. Often these include efficient appliances, using local materials for building, and green rooftops improve the quality of a building in many ways. And, some around the country are even starting to buzz, literally, with a newer trend — beehives atop commercial real estate buildings.
The hives are also part of an environmental effort to combat what is called colony collapse disorder (CCD), which is when worker bees abandon their hives leaving behind the queen. There are various reasons for why this may be occurring, some of them because of human influence, such as the use of pesticides. The result has been the loss of millions of beehives over the last several years, which in turn, impacts the world’s food sources, since many crops are pollinated by honey bees.
Beehives might seem like a far‑flung idea when it comes to incorporating sustainability into a commercial real estate building, but other than being a tasty, built‑in option for dining establishments and multifamily dwellers, and helping the ecosystem that bees rely on.
In the UK, hives on iconic buildings such as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, can be very high up, 52 metres in that case. This is higher than bee colonies live in trees. Honey bees routinely forage several kilometres from their hive. To a bee, flying level or flying vertically should make little difference as air resistance, not gravity, is the main challenge. Flying vertically to a hive at 50 metres would be negligible extra distance. Elevated Hive locations have the added benefit that if they can keep their flight path out of the human traffic – bees and humans will not collide.
People are curiously oblivious to anything above our heads. So, when you place a beehive on top of a building it often goes unnoticed. This is an advantage in an urban or suburban setting because it reduces the chance that a neighbor will complain. Out of sight, out of mind! Rooftop beehives will also have less of a presence in your own yard. The hive entrance is a busy place. During the day, a constant flurry of flying bees makes the area around a hive an undesirable location for anyone but the bees. When you place your beehives on a rooftop, this is no longer an issue. You don’t have to give over a corner of your property to flying bees. You also don’t have to worry about guard bees objecting to nearby weeding or rambunctious pets. The bees are literally out of your hair when they are placed on the roof. Another advantage of rooftop hives is that they seem less plagued by ants and hive beetles.
Bees Make Great Neighbors!
Honey bees are not naturally aggressive towards humans. They won’t bother you, if you don’t bother them. Honeybees don’t want anything to do with us! Their goal is to find flowers and produce enough honey to survive through the winter.
Bees will typically forage up to 4 miles away for food! Honey bees like to fly out and up to find their food. They will rarely drop down to ground level, except to visit a flower!
Education and familiarity will be a key to success. Honeybees are not aggressive towards humans unless they are provoked, so the best thing you can do to avoid the bees is stay calm and do not swat them. They are peaceful creatures that are going about their own business, typically looking for flowers to feed from and pollinate; they aren’t interested in you!
Sweet reward – what’s in it for Property Owners?
What is the real motivation for keeping rooftop hives? A future forward motivation is the desire of businesses and government bodies to showcase environmental credentials, by helping to save the endangered honey bee ‑ that is where Highrise Hives will bring value for our Hive hosts.
Highrise Honey will ensure clients, customers and stakeholders are aware that the Hive hosts are active in doing something about the depletion of the honeybee population.
Highrise Honey Hosts will receive the benefits of social media exposure, video live feed access, site marketing recognition and social license benefits of active Agri-food development reputation.
We propose to place our hives utilizing unused roofs, balconies & gardens.
Ideally, we will partner with a company with a network of rooftop space and an interest in being part of bettering the viability of the food system on a macro level – this is the reason you are reading this proposal.
Canadian cities will now join the likes of Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco New York, Hong Kong and many others where urban beekeeping is thriving. The community benefits by some true ‘local’ produce – a delicious tasting honey which is unique to each site, with less actual food miles plus help green our communities.
Benefits to Communities – Benefits to the Environment
In researching with a national construction professional, a large property owner in Calgary, and architects, with the question being if they knew of any incentives available to make a building more “green”. Each of these individuals are current in their field and none were aware of grants, tax credits or incentives – although all feel the trend is toward incorporating such features is the way of the future.