Waldorf-Astoria

Colony collapse disorder may be taking its toll on beehives around the country, but that hasn’t stopped the surge of urban beehives. The latest to capitalize on the buzz: New York City’s famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Not the first hotel to take on beehives, The Waldorf-Astoria joins Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental and California’s Carmel Valley Ranch, among others. The Waldorf-Astoria reports that it will install six honeybee hives on a rooftop space located on the hotel’s 20th floor. One of the hives will be a fully matured hive containing 20,000 bees, and the five remaining will be “starter hives” with 5,000 bees in each growing to 20,000 each by summer’s end.

Record numbers of bees have been dying or abandoning their hives in what’s commonly referred to as colony collapse disorder, but the cause of the behavior is unknown. Experts have speculated that the epidemic is related to a number of variables from pesticide exposure to parasites. The Waldorf-Astoria says part of the reason for the decision to host the beehives is to help support the important species that play a critical role in pollinating 1/3 of our nation’s food supply. And, in a growing trend towards buying and serving locally grown food, Chef David Garcelon will include the hotel’s honey in many of the restaurant’s menu items as well as specialty cocktails.

Several of the hotel’s guest rooms will have views of the hives and tours will be available. And guests can help to name the hives in an online social media contest.

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Image: jsmuns