Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW

Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW
Click on this photo for a video of "Evening in Honor of the Sacred Honey Bee". Photo by Daniel Bahmani

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Osaka company employees breed bees to help environment

OSAKA -- A group here has created a buzz with its latest "green" project -- breeding bees on the roofs of company buildings.

The project, called "The Umeda Bee Project," launched in March this year by several employees at the engine-manufacturing Yanmar Co, is an initiative to promote a greener environment in Japan's large cities. Inspired by a similar project in Tokyo's Ginza, a 39-year-old Yanmar employee brought up the idea to the company and after receiving permission, set up bee hives on the roof of his seven-story company building. If the project is successful, the organizers -- whose number has now increased to 18 -- will establish an Osaka-original honey brand, including a rich collection of various honey products.

The building -- and now home to nearly 100,000 apis mellifera bees -- is located in Kita Ward, near Umeda Station in central Osaka.

"At first we had our doubts," a representative of the group says, "There is little green in Osaka in comparison to Tokyo, so we were not sure whether the project would be successful."

However, since the project was launched half a year ago, the organizers were able to collect nearly 240 kilograms of honey. The bees' habitat of three kilometers around the building allows them to fly to various places with plenty of greenery and flowers, such as Osaka Castle Park and the Japan Mint, from where they regularly carry nectar.

The organizers are currently discussing ideas for future honey products, and often carry samples to nearby restaurants and bars. By having many people taste their honey, they are hoping to promote their project and create a city where people and bees can cohabit naturally, they say.

(Mainichi Japan) September 12, 2011

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