Bees invade downtown Detroit rooftop

Bees In The D co-founder Brian Peterson-Roest of Detroit, placing bees into their hive.

Detroit’s population just increased by 10,000, thanks to Bedrock and non-profit Bees In The D. A honey beehive with 10,000 bees in it was placed on the roof of the old Detroit News and Detroit Free Press building in downtown Detroit, which is currently an office building owned by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate development company.
“We’re going to give them their new home on the top of the 615 West Lafayette Building,” Brian Peterson-Roest, co-founder of Bees In The D, said before removing the first of five beehive frames from a cardboard box. “They can now call Detroit their home. The population of Detroit just went up a bit.”
Bees In The D was founded two years ago by Brian Peterson-Roest and his husband Brian Roest-Peterson, whose mission is to create a cooperative effort between residents, schools, organizations, and businesses in the city of Detroit and Southeast Michigan to contribute to both the health of honey bee colonies and the education of their importance to the environment. Peterson-Roest and the nonprofit care for bees in 84 hives at 33 locations across Southeast Michigan, several other locations downtown.
“We find that pairing with businesses really allows us a stage to help educate about honeybees,” Peterson-Roest said. “It allows them to also give back and to help with the conservation and sustainability. And I mean if it’s a restaurant or bar that’s using honey for drinks, people are loving to know they’re getting local products.”
The Bedrock beehive overlooking Fort Street Presbyterian Church.

The Bedrock beehive is the first of six planned honeybee hives for the building’s rooftop, working to create an apiary on the building. As part of Bees In The D’s deal with Bedrock, the honey produced in the hives will be used in the Press Room Café on the building’s first floor.
“They’re benefiting from it,” Peterson-Roest said. “So are we. But more than anything, the bees are benefiting from it and that’s our whole purpose.”
By mid-summer, Peterson-Roest expects the colony at Bedrock to grow to about 60,000. By Labor Day, if all goes well, the first harvest of honey could be ready in June and another available around Labor Day.
Educating the public on the importance of bees and helping colonies thrive in the region are essential to Bees In The D’s mission. Bees are important because in addition to making honey, they are among the creatures that pollinate plants that make up about a third of the human diet.
The Bedrock beehive is a great location because it has a guard wall, there are a lot of urban gardens nearby, and its proximity to the Detroit River.

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