Sea-Tac Among Airports Encouraging Honey Bee Apiaries on Airport Property

Bees on airport rooftops can be good for the financial and environmental bottom line.

As a result, beekeepers are moving millions of honeybees into apiaries at airports.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport receives about $75 per year to house beehives on 400 square feet of airport property just north of a runway. The abundance of Dutch clover and the lack of pesticides are big draws to both the beekeeper and the bees. And while the revenue for the airport is minimal, the airport reports it is a great opportunity for it to help green the environment.

Fifty beehives also sit on land owned by Chicago O'Hare International Airport and produce about 1,000 gallons of honey each year. The honey at this apiary is used in beauty products such as lip balm, moisturizer and bath lotion that are sold at Hudson News stores and other locations in O'Hare and Midway airports.

The apiary program pays minimal rent to the airport, but some revenue from product sales does go back to the airport via Hudson News.

This summer 16 honey bee colonies landed on Seattle-Tacoma International Airport property. The Common Acre, the nonprofit group coordinating the Flight Path bees project, also plans to add acres of wildflowers to encourage the bee population's honey production.

The group has already harvested about 250 pounds of honey, sales of which will go toward the costs of the project. The project's yields are reported to be healthy local bees, healthy habitat, support of native bee populations, the potential to distribute bees and wildflower seeds around the region.