Close up of the inside of the artificial bee hive (photo credit: Cameron Sheppard)

Close up of the inside of the artificial bee hive (photo credit: Cameron Sheppard)

Kirkland Urban complex introduces urban beekeeping to the neighborhood

The bees will provide honey and beeswax as well as valuable cross-pollination.

The Kirkland Urban mixed-use complex has introduced two bee-filled boxes as a sustainable way to produce natural bee products while also providing thousands of new pollinators to the neighborhood.

On the roof of the Northern-most building of the Kirkland Urban complex sits two boxes that serve as a more than adequate home for thousands of tirelessly working honey bees.

The bees will collect pollen from flowering plants up to two or three miles away from their artificial hives, according to assistant general manager at Kirkland Urban, Jackie Socha. They are estimated to travel as far North as Norkirk and as far South as Feriton, providing valuable cross-pollination for plants and gardens everywhere in between.

“It’s incredible what they do,” said Socha. “We learned a lot about them.”

She said the value of investing in bees for the neighborhood is not only in the cross-pollination they offer or the honey and beeswax which they produce, it also provides a way in which the community can engage and learn about the importance of bees and the impact of their population decline.

On Friday, May 14, Kirkland Urban’s new bee tenants were introduced to the community. Socha said many community members showed great interest in their new six-legged neighbors as they showed up and had many good questions about the beekeeping craft.

Socha said the bee colonies were procured through a company called Alvéole, the French word for honeycomb. Alvéole is an urban beekeeping service that helps introduce new bee colonies to urban areas.

Socha said the company has introduced many bee colonies in urban European areas, including Notre Dame in Paris.

The bees Alvéole uses are an Italian variety which are notoriously docile, according to Socha. So bee-weary folks in the neighborhood do not have to fear being harassed by the peaceful pollinators.

“I was one of those people nervous about bees,” Socha said. “But all these bees really want to do is make honey and pollinate.”

Thanks to Alvéole, the bees at Kirkland Urban will have their own beekeeper, Pedro Miola.

Miola estimated there is currently about 15,000 bees in the boxes at Kirkland Urban. He said he will regularly check up on the artificial hive to make sure the bees are healthy, without pests and to make sure the colony does not grow too large for the box.

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