Indiana Airport Gives Land for Bee Habitat
Apparently the sound of roaring jet engines doesn’t keep the bees from buzzing, as airports are proving to be a friendly habitat for endangered pollinators.
The first airport to provide a safe space for bees was in Hamburg, Germany, in 1999. Since then, several U.S. airports including the large O’Hare in Chicago and Lambert-St. Louis, have partnered with beekeepers.
Airports have plenty of unused land, and space for bees to roam without threatening travelers.
The newest airport to join is in Indianapolis, where Mike Seib manages the Indianapolis International Airport Community Apiary. More than 49% of bees in this area were lost last year, and they pollinate everything from pumpkins to apples.
Seib reports his hive yields about 100 pounds of honey annually. He checks his hives assiduously for any sign of the fungus that causes “colony collapse disorder.”
"They fly around in the day," he said, while scores of them buzzed around his bee cage hat and mask one day this week. "But at night they crawl, and they climb up my pants and won't get off."
Using the airport's public property nixes any liability issues on the part of beekeepers, should an unwary traveler get stung.
The airport authority has reserved 2,000 acres of land for conservation purposes. Sodalis Nature Park, 210 acres that is home to 100 species of wildlife, including Indiana bats, is also part of the authority’s refuge.