Bee Apiary

If you look into the Courtyard area you will see a set of white boxes with a little roof on top of it. This is the home of 30,000 of our busiest employees of the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore. In May 2011, the hotel became steward of 30,000 honeybees as part of our Land, Air and Sea environmental sustainability initiative. Unfortunately, we lost our bees for a few years due to a national virus in 2016 but they are BACK!  Currently the Honeybees are supplied by BeeFriendlyApaiary.com whose  mission is to help others better understand bees by promoting a strong understanding and healthy respect for our pollinators, by helping to reduce fear and misunderstanding about bees. Bee Friendly Apiary proudly uses the Russian strain of honey bee for its superior resistance to apiary pests, with a weighted resistance to Varroa Mites. The Russian honeybee, or Apis mellifera, originated in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia and was imported into the United States in 1997 by the USDA’s Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to severe declines in bee populations caused by infestations of parasitic mites.

 

Honey bees, also known as Apis mellifera or in latin the “honey carrying bee", have been on the earth for millions of years. Honey contains enzymes, minerals, and water and is produced by honey bees by collecting and transforming nectar from plants. Honey has been used by human civilization for food, medicine, and cosmetics for thousands of years all over the world.

 

Honey bees have six  legs, two  compound eyes with thousands of lenses, three  eyes on the top of their head that track the sun,  two  pairs of wings, a nectar stomach to carry nectar back to the colony, and a digestive stomach. Honey bees have one of the keenest sense of smells in the animal kingdom and hen flying, a honey bee’s wing can beat 200 beats per second making a distinctive buzz or hum when flying. The average colony of honey bees is 95% female containing  one queen who has fully developed reproductive organs and can lay fertile (becomes female) and infertile (becomes male) eggs, and up to 50,000 female workers which are the daughters of the queen. The female workers do all the necessary work from building wax combs, feeding and tending the brood, foraging, and every other aspect of work a hive does. During spring and summer the colony can create thousands of males whose sole purpose  is to mate with a virgin queen. The average worker produces approximately 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. During the active season, a workers life span is thought to be about 40 days and during the inactive season the workers lifespan is several months. In the active season, a honey bee worker will visit 50-100 flowers per foraging trip. Honey bees communicate through dancing, touching, smelling, and making certain tones. 


Although Honeybees can travel up to five miles daily, we have attempted to save them all that flight time with the placement of our 7th floor rooftop herb and vegetable garden - the Land portion in our environmental initiative. Early in the morning is the best time to observe the honeybees hard at work on the 7th floor. The Honeybees need approximately 50 quarts of honey to survive through the long cold winter months. The excess honey above the 50 quarts can be harvested for use in our amazing Chef’s creative recipes. Honeybees are unlike any other bee,   they are the only "BEE" that produces food - honey for humans to consume.

Be sure to look on our seasonal menu in Explorer's for items made with our very own honey, especially our signature Honey based cocktails & meals which are un-BEE-lievable!!!