Known primarily as a safe haven for hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds that draw tourists from around the world, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve now boasts a new honeybee exhibit where guests can gain an understanding into bees’ day-to-day activities and their role in the ecosystem.
The observation hive is inside the Preserve’s visitor center where admission is free. The new exhibit allows visitors to see how bees build comb, store honey and raise a brood. There is also signage explaining how to identify the queen of the hive.
During a visit to an Ohio park last year, Outdoor Recreation Supervisor Chuck Ashby witnessed firsthand “how many people were standing around an observation hive, watching the bees at work.”
Ashby was given the go-ahead to establish an observation hive. LVBees, a no-kill bee removal service, set up the indoor hive and provided the queen and 20,000 bees to establish the colony.
LVBees also offered the City 21 hives populated with bees that had been extracted from Henderson parks. They were established in an isolated location within the Bird Viewing Preserve’s 100 acres that is inaccessible to and far from the public.
Ashby successfully applied for a grant from the Bayer Bee Care Program’s Feed a Bee project through which the City purchased 20 trees, including pomegranate, desert willow and pine, and 200 flowering plants to serve as food for the honeybees in the observation hive and the working hives, each of which houses up to 60,000 bees. Eagle Scouts volunteered to assist in planting the trees. City staff, with help from members of two groups, AARP and Get Outdoors Nevada, installed the plants.
Twice each year (spring and late summer), LVBees removes the frames that hold honey from the hives and, with assistance from City employees, processes and bottles the honey in the Cornerstone Park kitchen. Approximately 30% of the honey produced by the outdoor hives is processed, yielding 83 jars of honey in July 2019.
“Henderson residents are invited to celebrate National Honey Bee Day with a visit to the Bird Viewing Preserve’s observation hive this Saturday, August 17 from 6 a.m. until noon,” said Ashby.