On Saturday, July 23rd, the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport was proud to welcome their latest “guests” – two honey bee hives obtained in partnership with the Loudoun Beekeepers Association (LBA), who has served Loudoun County, VA for over 40 years.
The Hotel’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Matt Hurst, states, “The addition of the bee hives is part of our continued efforts to embrace sustainability and local food sourcing initiatives whenever possible. We were inspired to get involved in the preservation of Honey Bees due to their dramatic declines over the past few years. Although our Executive Chef, Craig Mason, does intend to use the artisanal honeycomb in many creative and exciting recipes, bee health, not honey production, remains the primary goal of housing the hives.”
Todd Soós, President of the LBA, and member Bob Ragsdale, assisted with the move and are mentoring Hilton Dulles’ team members on beekeeping. The LBA is dedicated to beekeeping by introducing, educating, and fostering sustainable beekeeping practices for its members. The club, at 250+ members, also promotes the importance of honey bees (and other pollinators) through community outreach efforts.
The honey bee hives join the numerous sustainability initiatives already in place at Hilton Dulles, including Chef Mason’s onsite vegetable and herb garden, their recycled cooking oil program, and the upcoming “Throwback Thursday” Oyster Nights at their new outdoor lounge, Fireside Patio, where they will support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s efforts to restore native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay by collecting and donating empty shells.
Some facts about the Hilton Dulles Bees:
* Each colony (hive) will be home to approximately 50,000 to 60,000 bees, and each hive is expected to produce approximately 40 to 60 lbs of honey each year.
* The bees are only active during the daylight hours.
* Honey harvest takes place in early June and late July.
* Hotel will utilize honey in a signature drink at the Cardinal Lounge and in menu items in both restaurants.
* Surplus honey will also be bottled and provided as gifts to VIP guests and clients.