The Busyness of FIT’s Bees

FIT’s bees have been, well, busy.

With the help of the Honeybee Conservancy, FIT installed and started maintaining high-rise accommodations (read: hives) for approximately 10,000 bees last spring. Since then, our bees have made the college’s green roof their home and office, working diligently to achieve the remarkable accomplishments listed below.

Multiplied to well over 50,000.

Bees lay eggs when they’re doing well, and FIT’s bees are doing very well indeed. There is plenty of food for them in the form of plant life on FIT’s green roofs, in the Natural Dye Garden, and elsewhere throughout the “pollination corridor,” which includes Madison Square Park, the Flower District, and the Highline. According to Guillermo Fernandez of the Honeybee Conservancy, honeybees will fly three miles, which is why honey has the flavor of what’s growing in the area. Fernandez further reports that the bees are getting water from the condensation that forms around the steam pipe on FIT’s roof. Counterintuitively, bees actually do better in cities than in outlying suburban areas because fewer pesticides are used.

beekeepers working on FIT's rooftop hives

Helped FIT’s green spaces.

The college’s multiple green roofs and its Natural Dye Garden – thrive, becoming healthier and more robust. Fernandez was thrilled to see so much flowering yellow sedum on the green roofs, as it is a source of food for the bees, which becomes especially important as the weather gets colder.

Produced more than 20 pounds of honey.

This rich, dark, amber honey was extracted from the hive on October 27. (Fall honey is always darker than spring honey.) Honey was not even expected this year, since it rarely is available the first year after a hive is installed. However, there is much more vegetation in the area than Fernandez expected. A single tablespoon of honey is the lifetime work of two honeybees, so a lot of labor goes into a jar of honey. More than 20 FIT students turned out to help remove the wax caps from the frames, put the uncapped frames into a centrifuge, and then pour the honey into storage containers. The blonder honey that the bees produced last spring was left in the hive for them.

Become Internet stars.

The bees’ activities are broadcast 24/7 on FIT’s Beecam, which has been viewed more than 21,000 times since it was installed approximately a month ago.

Supported New York City.

FIT’s hives have contributed to the honeybee population in the city, which, during a time when honeybee populations have experienced a dramatic decline, has become more important.

FIT Bees


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