Honey bees to share SeaTac flight path

Frame of honeybees and hive tool

Photo by Lynn Wilson


SeaTac Airport has agreed to use some of its immense safety buffer to help a local food group try to bolster declining honey bee numbers.

The group Common Acre is now tending to hives at three locations in the open meadows surrounding Sea-Tac’s runways.

Keeper Bob Redmond said he got the idea from a similar program in Chicago and took it to the Port of Seattle. He did not expect much cooperation until he met the airport’s wildlife team.

SeaTac Wildlife Biologist Manager Steve Osmek said it’s just a logical expansion of the major investment the airport has made in restoration and enhancement projects.

Osmek and his team helped identify suitable areas the hives were set up. Redmond and fellow keeper David Feinberg routinely check on the health of hives are confident they can thrive in the shadow of arriving and departing jumbo jets.

Their group hopes to improve honey bee health as part of a major effort to increase framing in urban areas. They believe it is the only way we can keep up with the needs of a hungry population shifting from living in farm to country to living in the cities.

If the pilot program works, they will put in more hives and help the airport create a honey bee exhibit set to open inside the airport on – where else? – Concourse B.

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