Mid-Michigan restaurant installs bee hive on roof for fresh hone - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan restaurant installs bee hive on roof for fresh honey

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FENTON (WJRT) - (05/14/14) - A Mid-Michigan restaurant is trying something unusual. It has set up a bee hive on the roof of the business. If you look on the edge of the roof on the south side of the Laundry Restaurant in Fenton, you'll see a wooden box -15,000 bees call that box home.

"We started talking about it last year after so many articles in the paper talking about how the bees in the country have been struggling," said Mark Hamel, the Laundry restaurant owner.

About two weeks ago, an employee of the Laundry built the hive. A queen was purchased and brought 15,000 workers with her.

"The investment is about $300 all said and done," Hamel said.

The queen has been busy.

"She starts producing eggs at about 2,000 a day. They'll go from 15,000 to 85,000 bees in there. They'll start producing honey right away," Hamel said.
If everything goes well, there should be lots of honey, perhaps 165 pounds this year.

"We use the honey, we would be helping out the environment because bees have been struggling so much and it would be really interesting," Hamel said.

It may be unique to the Michigan restaurant industry. California restaurateur Oscar Sarkisian had never heard of it.

"It sounds good. It really does," said Sarkisian, owns 11 restaurants in San Diego area.

"I don't know of any restaurants that are doing that. Maybe because of the fact people can be afraid," Hamel said.

That's a concern, but Hamel says these bees have one track minds.

"The only thing they're concerned about is going and getting nectar and bringing it back," Hamel said.
Hamel says yellow jackets and bumble bees are more of a threat to his customers than non-aggressive honey bees.

"They're not interested in bugging anyone. They're not interested in any of that. If you don't bother them, they won't bother you," Hamel said.

In addition to the fresh honey that will be available at the Laundry Restaurant, Hamel grows his own tomatoes, peppers and herbs on the site.
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