If you see any honey bees hovering around Kansas City, Blue KC will happily take the blame. Not only do we encourage wellness for the people of Kansas City, but help take care of the bee population, too. My first experience with urban beekeeping was when I worked in New York City, and it inspired me to become Blue KC’s in-house beekeeper. Three years ago, I led the installation of a beehive at our company headquarters, and Blue KC has been buzzing with excitement ever since.
The beehive provides honey for the Live Blue Kitchen and Café’s barista station, as well as for select lunch recipes. Primarily, though, the Blue KC beehive is part of an effort to help preserve the bee population.
There are currently 20,000 bees in the Blue KC beehive, which is located in a secure patio space behind our building. Next to the beehive, there’s a garden where the team grows herbs and fresh produce for our employees.
Summer 2019 Blue KC Beehive Update
We’ve harvested three frames of honey so far this summer, which is equivalent to more than a gallon of pure honey. The amount of honey the hive harvests depends on the hive and its environment, so the beehive’s output varies from year to year. The Blue KC hive is considered an “urban hive,” meaning that it’s not located in a natural habitat for the bees. But, thanks to the plentiful trees in downtown Kansas City, the bees are able to pollinate during the springtime, producing quality honey for Blue KC employees.
The queen bee is responsible for our thousands of bee neighbors, as her actions determine the well-being of the hive. The bees protect her from hive beetles and other pests that prey on beehives.
There was a scare in the springtime when my staff and I thought that the queen bee might have left the hive, but it turned out that she was just hiding. If the queen were to have left the hive, she would have taken between 5,000 and 10,000 bees along with her, which would have been detrimental to the hive.
Don’t worry about getting stung by any of the bees, though. The bees play nice and haven’t ever stung anyone. They’re also very resilient and band together through tough weather conditions. Despite this past winter having been one of the worst Kansas City has seen in a long time, our current beehive is the best we have ever had – in fact, it’s the only hive in three years to have withstood the winter.
Concerning the future of the Blue KC bees, the team and I are going to minimize human intervention with the hive this summer, given that they’ve been doing so well. We’re going to let the bees do their thing, go at their own pace and enjoy many plentiful honey harvests in the meantime.
Keep up with the Blue KC bees by following us on Instagram.
Head Chef, Live Blue Kitchen + Café
Kyle Williams is the Head Chef of the Live Blue Kitchen + Café at Blue KC. He focuses on preparing healthy meals using fresh, local ingredients.