My daughter sent me a news article about bees on a rooftop restaurant in Kirkland, Washington. For those of you from elsewhere, Kirkland is an urban/suburban city outside of Seattle. If the name sounds oddly familiar, it’s because the city is home to Costco and its Kirkland Signature brand of products.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Now, as part of the Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club & Spa’s latest program, “Bee on the Lake,” Seattle-area residents will have the chance to taste a buzz-worthy batch of golden honey produced by 180,000 Italian honeybees and six queen bees housed just steps from the property.
Once settled in, it is expected that the six hives of bees, which are located on top of a Carillon Point rooftop near the Woodmark, will begin producing honey around mid-July. At the end of production in September, the Woodmark will have approximately 1,200 pounds of honey to work with, and with that impressive number in mind, has already begun planning how to best use the locally-produced product.
Did you catch that? These six colonies, during a span of ten weeks, are going to produce 1200 pounds of honey for the restaurant. That’s 200 pounds per hive or 20 lbs per hive per week. And that’s just the amount the restaurant will have “to work with.” One has to assume they will leave some for the bees.
Maybe all those folks in Kirkland have Costco-size expectations, but that is nuts. According to a report by the USDA, the average honey production in Washington was 37 pounds per colony in 2010 and 38 pounds per colony in 2011. And that’s for the whole season, not a ten week period spanning the July and August nectar dearth. It makes you wonder where they get their information.
Impressive numbers like that are certainly attainable in some places—but not in western Washington in the middle of the summer. No way. I hope they have some other sources of local honey lined up. Maybe some of you Seattle beekeepers have a new market . . . just keep those prices high as the rooftops.