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Waldorf-Astoria gets into beekeeping business

The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City has some interesting guests checking in soon: thousands of bees.

Next month, the hotel plans to install six beehives in a rooftop space on the 20th floor. They will include one mature hive of 20,000 bees and five starter hives of 5,000 bees each. By August, the hotel expects to have 300,000 bees in residence.

Chef David Garcelon will incorporate the harvested honey into the restaurant’s dishes. There also are plans for a chef’s garden to be built.

The Waldorf is the latest in a long string of hotels taking in bees. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, for instance, has more than a dozen properties with beehives on-site.

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Hotels are increasingly adding locally sourced food to their menus, and beekeeping allows them to produce organic honey for food and cocktails. The hotels also say they are helping to save the species. The North American honey bee population has been dwindling in recent years.

Guests at the Waldorf Astoria will get tours of the hives, and a few guest rooms will even have a view of them.

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“We look forward to eventually housing enough bees to not only aid the environment but also supply fresh honey in the hotel’s food and beverage outlets,” says general manager Eric. O. Long.

The hotel will ask the public to help name the beehives through a social media contest this month.

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