Over the past three decades, the population of honeybees in the United States has drastically declined. This decline has come about due to a number of causes, including parasites, pests, pathogens, and pesticides. To avoid the extinction of such a vital part of the American ecosystem, though, Ford has installed two beehives at the Ford Rouge Plant in Michigan.
There are approximately 80,000 honeybees using the hives, which were started as part of Ford’s environment initiative, which is called the Heritage 2000 program. This program, which gave the Ford Rogue Plant a “green” makeover, first planted a number of crabapple trees. After doing so, an employee suggested the idea of beehives due to their decline in the area.
“We had the crabapple trees and though when they flowered, the bees could pollinate them,” said Roger Gaudette, director of the Dearborn campus transformation. “Bees are relatively easy to manage, so they were the perfect fit. We installed the hives in 2003, and even distributed the honey to company board members for the first few years.”
The two Ford honeybee beehives are under the command of Mary Mason, a Ford employee. Along with the bees at the Rouge plant, Ford has also rescued tens of thousands of other honeybees this summer, hoping to increase the honeybee population in the US.