Why the Port is the place to ‘bee’ this spring

by Annie Linstrom 2/28/2012 2:43 PM

This spring, more than 70,000 bees are expected to fly into the Port of Portland to inhabit a custom-made Langstroth bee hive.

The first of its kind at the Port, the hive assembly was carefully constructed by Greg Sparks, Port project development manager and avid beekeeper. Sparks will install the hive on the ecoroof located on the 10th floor of the Port headquarters building. When in flower, the ecoroof acts as a foraging home for bees and native pollinators.

While honeybee pollination is vital in much agricultural food production, honeybee populations are in decline in North America. The hive will further Port environmental efforts by offering honeybees a secure place to live and thrive and propagate the species. The hive will also raise the awareness of the importance of honeybees. 

The hive is made of natural pine and cedar and contains more than 40 frames that the bees will use to build comb for making and storing honey and for the queen to lay eggs and raise young bees. Once established, the colony could produce up to 100 pounds of honey during the six-month pollination period, and will forage for up to two miles from their home. Honey produced by the colony will not be harvested the first year to allow them to become a well established and thriving colony. The colony will not be treated with chemicals, but rather be allowed to exist naturally in their new environment.

Port employees will watch as the honeybees work and produce honey; learn about the 45-day lifecycle of a worker bee, and the three-year lifecycle of the queen bee, and witness the ever-changing lifecycle of a honeybee colony.