Here in California, billions of honey bees have been busy pollinating our almond and fruit crops for the last several months. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, many honey bees have found new homes on the rooftops of Washington, D.C. as well. There are currently more than 400 hives in the District of Columbia according to news station WTOP, and hundreds more just across the border in Virginia and Maryland.
Thanks to the efforts of local beekeepers, the region’s struggling honey bee populations are getting a new lease on life in a surprisingly urban environment. Virginia’s honey bees have been in a particularly precarious position in recent years, after nearly 60 percent of the state’s colonies were lost last winter.
Now, these bees can forage for nectar in the lush gardens, parks and trees around Washington, D.C. These days, you can even find bee colonies around historic landmarks like Mount Vernon and The Kennedy Center. D.C.’s bees are especially fond of the city’s tulip poplar and basswood trees. This diet imparts a unique taste to their honey that is quite different from that of wildflower honey.
“I’ve got to tell you,” says Toni Burnham, president of the D.C. Beekeepers Alliance in her interview with WTOP. “Washington tastes delicious.”
Recently, some restaurants in D.C. have begun using locally-harvested honey to add a sweet splash of flavor to their dishes and cocktails. To learn more about D.C.’s burgeoning beekeeping movement, you can visit the D.C. Beekeepers Alliance website here!