The 20th floor of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria now accommodates some rather unusual residents — around 250,000 bees living on the roof of the prestigious hotel. Transported to their new midtown Manhattan digs by a Lincoln Towncar, the pollinating inhabitants of the six beehives were placed there to support the PlaNYC initiative to plant 1,000,000 new trees over the next decade. The hotel will benefit directly too, with their own in-house supply of sustainable honey!
Until 2010, beekeeping was illegal in New York City, but a growing recognition of the importance of bees led the city to overturn the outdated law, and since then individuals and organizations have been permitted to maintain hives that are registered with the Department of Health.
Speaking to the AP, Waldorf Astoria Beekeeper Andrew Cote explained “About half the population of each hive, foragers, are flying, mostly in the direction of Central Park,” providing valuable pollination to promote the plant life of the city. The Waldorf-Astoria follows in the footsteps of several other hotels in the US and further afield. Just a few weeks ago the Times Square InterContinental installed a modest bee colony on their roof top, while the chain’s hotels in Boston and Toronto have undertaken similar efforts, and so has the White House.
These beekeeping efforts, which may on the face of it seem unusual, work to counter the devastating impacts of bee colony collapse, a problem which has been on the rise in recent years. Researchers have attributed the disappearing hives to a variety of factors, from fertilizers to cell phones. As studies continue, the protected hives in these urban locations promote pollination in areas where one might not typically find large populations of bees. Not to mention, they also provide for a fascinating and unusual tourist attraction for guests at the hotel — some of whom can reportedly see the bees from their windows.
Images via Waldorf-Astoria on Facebook