Have you heard the buzz in Times Square? The InterContinental New York Times Square hotel just opened a new rooftop beehive home to more than 10,000 honey bees! The hive is located on one of two rooftop gardens which also boast an herb garden producing local food only a few floors away for hotel guests.
Traveling apiculturist Zainal Khan is overseeing the hive for now and is training Chef Andrew Rubin to maintain it on a daily basis. The hive is expected to produce almost 30 pounds of honey this year, with the first harvest set for July. InterContinental plans to put that honey right back into cocktails and menu items at the hotel restaurant for a truly local dining experience. An additional four hives are planned to join the garden’s green design by summer 2013.
The InterContinental hosts two other apiaries in North America at their Boston and New York Barclay hotels. You can also find beehives atop urban hotels in France, Hawaii, Vancouver, San Francisco and the White House. Rooftop apiaries are good news for honey bees, whose population has been steadily declining since 2006 due to stressors like habitat loss and widespread use of pesticides.
The InterContinental’s green and sustainable business practices are currently pending LEED-certification, and along with the rooftop gardens, include the use of energy efficient lights, water conservation and off-site composting.
Photos © InterContinental New York Times Square