Urban Bee Keeping

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Purpose of the project

Across the country, honeybee populations are suffering mass extinction caused by disease, loss of habitat and the use of pesticides. The most recent threat to bees is an outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which can cause sudden and catastrophic die-offs of bee colonies.

Preservation of honey bees is tremendously important to the natural environment and the economy. Bees pollinate more than 100 fruit and vegetable crops and contribute more than $15 billion annually to the economy of the United States.

 

Approach

In 2014 Boston Properties partnered with Best Bees, a Boston-based full service beekeeping operation. Hives have been installed at four rooftop locations: Atlantic Wharf, Prudential Center, 100 Federal Street and Kendall Center. These rooftops provide ideal habitats for bees, which prefer ecologically diverse, open space with sunshine and minimal tree cover.

Urban apiculture is especially important in the fight to save the honeybee because bees in cities have a higher overwinter survival rate and are able to produce more honey than their
suburban or rural counterparts, due to the urban heat island effect and the comparatively low rate of pesticide use in urban ecosystems.

 

Results

- Increased support food sovereignty by facilitating the
pollination of urban agriculture
- Improved access to nutritious local food in areas that are often
inhabited by low-income or at-risk communities.
- Reduced irritation during allergy season from pollen
- Lots of homemade organic honey. In partnership
with Best Bees, Boston Properties is producing over 100 liquid pounds of honey per year, which we gift to our tenants and the community.

 

"One tactic for integrating healthy and productive workspaces into the urban environment is to convert barren zones of commercial rooftops into platforms for agriculture and renewable energy generation. With the beekeeping project, we’re going beyond environmental impact mitigation to regenerate and improve urban ecosystems."

- Ben Myers, Sustainability Manager, Boston Properties