The rooftop at Radisson Blu Mall of America is all a buzz with its new residents, quite literally. The hotel has officially become the first in the Twin Cities area to house honey bee colonies from the University of Minnesota Bee Squad, an organization devoted to helping the community foster healthy bee populations. As a LEED certified hotel, these bees are a further enhancement to the hotel’s existing commitment to the environment and sustainable responsible business programs.
The Bee Squad delivered two honey bee colonies to the hotel, each with about 10,000 honey bees per colony that live on the hotel’s roof. The colonies will continue to grow until there are about 40,000 to 50,000 honey bees per colony. It will take one year for the bees to produce surplus honey that can be harvested and then incorporated into the FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar’s dining menu.
“Bees play such an important role in pollinating plants that it is very important we do what we can to help the species and provide them with a healthy environment in which they can thrive,” said Chef Lynch of FireLake.
“Using locally sourced ingredients is at the heart of what we do at FireLake, so once the honey is ready, we will incorporate this into dishes on our menu allowing us to add even more local flavor.”
Radisson Blu Mall of America is an ideal home for the new honey bee colonies as it is near highways where there is reduced use of pesticides, sits next to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and is within very close proximity to Long Meadow Lake and the Minnesota River.
The sweetest part? The results are already impressive! The hotel started with approximately 20,000 bees and the colony has grown to over 40,000 bees in a few short months. The near-perfect environment for this colony has produced unexpectedly swift growth results. We have a feeling that diners at FireLake will be indulging in some sticky and sweet, locally sourced honey in no time.