There’s always lots of buzz surrounding the latest happenings in Orange County’s South Coast Metro, but this time it’s coming from real bees.
Around the country, urban apiaries have become sought-after and desirable ecological amenities for countless commercial properties, schools, homes, and other locations. Now they’re swarming here, too, with as many as 50,000 honeybees working around a single hive.
But have no fear of getting stung unless you disturb them. This strain of honeybees originated in Italy and has a mild temperament that makes them perfect neighbors in urban areas. Worker bees devote their short lives to a single hive and will never leave it.
To flourish here, all the honeybees need is plenty of water and floral resources, our temperate Orange County weather, and no pesticides. They peacefully share urban areas with other pollinators like friendly butterflies, bumblebees, and wild bees.
The Metro’s aptly named Hive, a Class A creative office campus, views having beehives as a highlight for the property. The property managers have engaged Alveole, a Canadian urban beekeeping service that has just recently started doing business in Southern California. In partnership with Alveole, more than 500 companies in North America have installed beehives on their rooftops or land.
Tending to Hive’s bees is urban beekeeper Macarena Blando Demarco, who inspects the hives every three weeks. She also conducts workshops about the value of bees for tenants and harvests the honey for them.
“By adopting honeybees, these properties are helping change people’s perspective of the urban environment and reconnecting our community with the subtle wonders of nature,” she said.
Two honeybee hives are located at CANVAS on Bristol Street where their honey is a critical ingredient in the production of sustainable and artisanal items such as jars of honey, lip balm, candles, and bars of soap.
More commercial properties in Orange County are taking note, too. Hives are also now located at Griffin Towers and other commercial properties. Property managers at 1 MacArthur Place are contracting with Alveole to place hives on the roof in early 2022.
“Our goal is to help people fall in love with bees, and by extension, all the pollinators helping our ecosystems thrive,” said Demarco. ”Learning about honeybees also happens to be a great way to bring out one’s inner child as the world inside a hive can be truly inspiring.”
She said that installing hives in urban areas requires minimal resources, but brings many benefits, including highlighting issues related to the environment, industrial agriculture, and pollination and greening, all the while producing local, artisanal honey.