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Madison Square Garden debuts two hives of honey bees on roof

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Madison Square Garden is abuzz: The home of the Knicks and Rangers just added another quick, high-flying squad to their roster.

The building is now housing two beehives on the sixth floor rooftop — and the action will be visible to fans from the official team store windows on that same level.

Each hive has a queen bee and approximately 40,000 worker bees between them.

“It’s the world’s most famous arena,” MSG general manager Clinton Neils told The Post. “And we will now be the world’s most famous beehive.”

The new tenants come courtesy of a collaboration with Best Bees, a beekeeping service company that installs and maintains hives in urban areas to preserve and grow the honey bee population.

“We have fewer bees and insects in our environment than ever before, so we are on a mission to save the bees,” Best Bees co-founder and CEO Noah Wilson-Rich told The Post.

The company is in 14 cities and also maintains hives on other iconic Big Apple rooftops, such as the MetLife and Chrysler buildings, but this is their first arena.

The new beehives at Madison Square Garden are visible from the team stores on the sixth floor.
Stefano Giovannini
Neils and Wilson-Rich hope the honey bees will become a stop-off for swarming fans, and an important part of the building.
Each hive has a queen bee and approximately 40,000 worker bees between them. Neils and Wilson-Rich hope the honey bees will become a stop-off for swarming fans, and an important part of the building.
Stefano Giovannini

“We were intrigued by the opportunity, and after understanding the impact on the environment, it was something we wanted to do,” said Neils, adding that they will look for creative ways to utilize the bees going forward, such as potentially using the honey they produce in the food sold at the concession stands.

“But right now, we want to make sure the fans know they are there. We have the Knicks, the Rangers and now the honey bees,” said Neils.

Two weeks ago, a professional beekeeper from the company — which has an operation center in Long Island City — transported the locally bred bees to the loading dock and up to their new abode on the sixth floor rooftop overlooking Moynihan Train Hall and Eighth Avenue.

Wilson-Rich said landing one of their hives at the Midtown landmark was particularly special.

“I was born in Manhattan, so MSG is near and dear to my heart,” Wilson-Rich told The Post. “The rooftop is a great home for them. They are behind glass, and it’s where kids and adults can watch these fascinating insects. Honey bees are not aggressive like wasps, hornets or yellow jackets. It’s a great way to connect with nature in the city.”

He added that the bees will be living there all year-round. They will cuddle in the winter for warmth but they will use the hives as home base and spend their days flying around the city, pollinating flowers and making honey.

Beekeeper Tom Whitburn tends to the bees at MSG.
Beekeeper Tom Whitburn tends to the bees at MSG.
Stefano Giovannini

“They fly for three to five miles and are covering the city, pollinating gardens and visiting everything in Central Park. They work like a 9 to 5, so they go out, put in some hard work and come back with the nectar and pollen and all that good stuff,” said Wilson-Rich.

The bees — who will make their debut to the public during the Rangers preseason match up against the Islanders on Sept. 26th — will be regularly monitored by Best Bees’ beekeepers, who will also keep track of their honey production.

Neils and Wilson-Rich hope the honey bees will become a stop-off for swarming fans, and an important part of the building.

As for the bees themselves, they’re enjoying living in the legendary venue.

“I know the bees are looking to cheer on the Knicks when they face the Hornets this November, so there’s a lot of fun to be had,” Wilson-Rich joked.

Whitburn, the beekeeper, shows off the bees' new home on MSG's little-known sixth floor roof deck.
Whitburn, the beekeeper, shows off the bees’ new home on MSG’s little-known sixth floor roof deck.
Stefano Giovannini
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Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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