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The Central News Agency:Taipei hotel starts harvesting honey from its rooftop beehives

Taipei hotel starts harvesting honey from its rooftop beehives

The Central News Agency

2015-04-28

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is joining an emerging global trend of urban beekeeping, led by a luxury hotel that is now producing its own honey.

W Taipei, a 32-story hotel in the bustling Xinyi District, has 100,000 bees in an apiary on its roof, its general manager Cary Michael Gray said at a press conference Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the hotel harvested at 3 to 4 liters of honey from its rooftop beehives, Gray said, adding that he hopes the "buzz" will spread throughout Taiwan''''''''s cities as honey bees are gradually disappearing from the global map.

The hotel launched the beekeeping project last November under a program initiated by Syin-Lu Social Welfare Foundation to tackle the global bee crisis and improve urban ecology in Taiwan, Gray said.

He said a small portion of the honey from the rooftop apiary will be used to make pastries and cocktails in the hotel but most of it will be given to Syin-Lu to raise funds.

The urban beekeeping program is being promoted in cooperation with National Ilan University in northeastern Taiwan.

Chen Yue-wen (陳裕文), a bee expert and professor in Ilan University''''''''s Department of Biotechnology and Animal Science, said in response to a question about the program that it is a practical idea to keep honey bees in Taipei, a city with a population of around 2.7 million.

At present, most of Taiwan''''''''s beekeepers are based in agricultural areas in the central and southern counties where farmers typically use pesticides on their crops, which exposes bees to toxic environments, Chen said.

"Keeping bees on the rooftops of urban high-rise buildings is indeed practical" because there is much less danger of exposure to pesticides in cities, he said.

Also, well-maintained public parks, where flowers of a wide variety are grown all year round, provide a stable source of pollen for bees, said Chen, who also chairs the Taiwan Agricultural Society in Yilan, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of bee ecology and the research of bee-related products.

Since W Taipei started its beekeeping project last year, the rooftop apiary has survived northeast monsoons and heavy rains, which demonstrates that the idea is feasible, Chen said.

On the question of urban air pollution, he said it is caused mostly by automobile emissions that comprise nitrous oxides and sulfur oxides, which do not remain on pollen.

Chen said water pollution caused by waste discharge from factories could pose a threat but is unlikely to be a big problem in Taipei since it is not an industrial city.

As for the danger to people from the bees themselves, he said there is no real threat because the beehives are usually on top of high rise buildings.

In several major cities around the world, including Paris, New York, London and Tokyo, urban honeybee keeping has long been practiced and has proved to be a success.

 

The Central News Agency :http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aSOC/201504280021.aspx

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