- Associated Press - Monday, May 19, 2014

FENTON, Mich. (AP) - The Laundry in Fenton is buzzing these days.

The restaurant has about 15,000 honeybees on the roof of the one-story building downtown in an effort to create honey for the restaurant and help out local plants, owner Mark Hamel said.

The idea blossomed this winter, when Shannon Slanec, an employee at the business, presented it to Hamel. Slanec and Josh Thierry began a hobby of beekeeping the past four years and hoped to bring it more to the community, something Hamel agreed with.

“Over the last couple of years there hThe Laundry in Fenton now home to 15,000 bees on roofas been a lot of stuff in the papers about how bees are suffering,” Hamel told The Flint Journal ( http://bit.ly/1qweqaU ).

After Slanec brought in some honey from her hobby, co-workers started to take note.

After adding the nest and roughly 15,000 bees to the roof on May 6, Thierry released the queen bee into the nest two days later to lay eggs and, ultimately, honey for the nest. The bees had already begun creating a honeycomb.

“They will produce enough honey in those two boxes to get them through the winter,” Hamel said.

After the two boxes are full, Thierry and Slanec will add another box on top. After that is full, honey collection can begin.

“Last year one of those boxes produced 80 pounds of honey,” she said. “It’s incredible how much they create.”

With a small garden featured behind the restaurant, the bees make even more sense, Hamel said.

“This would be a great addition to the garden,” he said. “And we are helping out the environment as well.”

On a daily basis, the bees can travel up to 2 miles and are important in pollinating for anything blooming in the spring.

The bees will stay in their shelter throughout the winter, living off the honey they created in the summer. If there is a severe winter, like last years, Thierry said they might have to be fed with a special sugary substance for the bees.

“They took a big hit with the winter we had,” Thierry said. “A lot of people lost their hives.”

Hamel said people shouldn’t worry about the insects bugging anybody.

Story Continues →