Dwindling bee colonies worldwide are now a major concern as over 75% of all food crops require pollination. Since 2006 bee numbers have dropped drastically across Europe and the USA with hive losses estimated at 30% or higher. Causes have been linked to human impact on the environment, habitat loss, pesticides, the production of biofuel crops, and predatory mites such as the Varroa destructor mite as well as global climate change.
It is no wonder then that beekeeping has gained rapid popularity, in London alone a 220% increase in beekeepers occurred between 1999 and 2012. Green Globe member properties have also joined the crusade to save honeybees. In cities such as Frankfurt and further afield in rural areas of France and across to the Riviera Maya region in Mexico, honeybees are abuzz.
It is thought that major agricultural nations including Germany and France have too few honeybees to provide all the pollination services necessary to properly pollinate all their crops. In 2015, the Mövenpick Hotel Münster launched a new initiative taking advantage of its quiet natural surroundings directly located on the Aasee Lake. In cooperation with the private beekeeping “Münsterhonig” the city hotel now has bee colonies placed on its roof. The honey produced is sold at both the Front Desk and used in the kitchen.
So is city honey more delicious than honey produced in the country? This is the question on everybody’s mind. Apparently, yes! It has been said that honey produced in the city is sweeter because there are many more different species of flowers. And the nectar not only reflects the time of year pollen was collected but also the type of flowers the bees encounter. Located in the fifth largest city in Germany on the Main River the Jumeirah Frankfurt has 40,000 bees on its roof making a unique delicious honey for guests to enjoy.
In France, protection of the environment is another reason beekeeping is becoming a priority. At La Grée des Landes Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher, located in the Bretagne region on 24 acres of meadows and forests more than five beehives have been installed to preserve regional biodiversity.
And the Château Saint-Martin & Spa once a 12th century Knights Templar Castle, now a luxury hotel, has several beehives that provide organic honey for guests’ tables. The hives also form part of educational programs offered to children to highlight the beauty of nature and the importance of sustainable responsibility. The property is set in a 32 acre estate where the mountains meet the scenic Côte d’Azur (French Riviera).
During the winter when spaces to hibernate is limited an “insect hotel” constructed at the Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc offers shelter to insects. The insect hotel is home to solitary bees along with beetles, ladybirds, butterflies and even earwigs. The insect hotel helps to enrich the micro fauna at the property while educating younger guests about environmental protection.
The Ile aux Oiseaux, a natural preservation zone, is a particularly rich site in which a peaceful haven has been created to attract interesting and protected bird species. However, the island has also become a home for local bees. Three beehives have been set up at the Carnac Thalasso & Spa Resort in Brittany on the Ile aux Oiseaux (Island of Birds) which belongs to the resort. Since the first successful harvest of honey there are plans to build more hives in the area that will grace breakfast tables or used in the making of an exclusive honey wine.
No matter where it is made, honey is delicious in any language. In Mexico, the demand for honey in areas such as the Mexican Riviera honey production helps Mexican farmers maintain their livelihoods thereby contributing to economic regional development. Locally produced honey is available at the Catalonia Playa Maroma and at the Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort & Spa and Catalonia Yucatan Beach.
So all over the world, protecting and cultivating bee numbers is a priority. Many hotels, organizations and individuals are working together to stop any further fall in the existing bee population. We encourage all Green Globe members to protect the environment in all regions from urban hotels to coastal resorts.