Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Tue September 01 2015

Pensacola Airport Considers Hosting Honeybee Hives

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | September 01, 2015

Pensacola Airport Considers Hosting Honeybee Hives

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Pensacola International Airport is considering housing honeybee hives — and they would be far more than just a curiosity.

Interim airport director Dan Flynn told the Pensacola News Journal that hosting the bees "would be beneficial for both the bees and the community."

"Now is not the right time of the year to put the bees in," added Flynn. "It will most likely be in the later winter months when we approach local beekeepers about the possibility."

Other airports, including ones in St. Louis, Seattle and Chicago have welcomed hives onto their property since Germany's Hamburg Airport became the first in 1999.

In Pensacola Airport's case, the reason for bringing around the flying insects is simple, as Flynn points out: "There is a need in the community to have more bees," he told the News Journal. "We just are not seeing the wild hives like we used to."

Citing a Bee Informed Partnership study, the News Journal reports the number of honeybee deaths in the U.S. has increased drastically since 2014. 

The lack of bees is significant, considering they are critical to various pollination services and help grow healthy crops that Americans consume. 

If the hives are stored at Pensacola Airport, they're likely to be kept along the outskirts of airport property, far away from people, runways, air traffic controllers and baggage carts. Those sorts of areas are ideal for bees as they are traditionally void of humans and pesticides.

However additional planning would have to be in order to ensure success at Pensacola Airport. "We have a good bit of grounds maintenance that takes place and I would need to take that into account," Flynn told the News Journal. 

Escarosa Beekeeper’s Association president Shelby Johnson told the News Journal that the airport would be best suited to go with a commercial beekeeper and that it "could sell the local honey that was made at the airport, right inside the airport."

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