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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » July 30, 2012
On the town
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Rooftop Honey from a Warsaw Hotel
July 30, 2012   
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The Hyatt Regency Warsaw is the only hotel in Poland to have two resident families of honey bees living on its premises. It has rooftop beehives on the sixth floor of the hotel in central Warsaw. The Hyatt is also the only hotel in Poland to produce its own honey. At this stage, there are 100,000 bees, but Heddo Siebs, the Hyatt Regency’s general manager, is planning to double that number so that the hotel can be self sufficient in honey. He said that he got the idea for the beehives when he heard earlier this year that the numbers of bees in Warsaw were declining. He decided to bring some in from another region of Poland.

“My colleagues laughed at me and the bee producer was skeptical. Now everyone is very enthusiastic about it. The presence of bees indicates that there is a balance in nature here. Apart from having our own unique honey, I feel it is important for hotels such as ours to give something back to the community”, said Siebs.

Marek Barzyk, a beekeeper from Podkarpacie province, is helping to look after the honey bee colony. The Hyatt received all the necessary approvals in order to have the beehives on its rooftop.

The hotel is working closely with Royal Łazienki Park next door, where the bees collect their nectar from the linden trees growing in abundance there. The bees also make use of the park on the other side of the hotel, and traverse quite a distance from the hotel to the Vistula River. Some people claim that “city bees” are healthier than “rural bees,” because there are fewer pesticides around.

“The bees have happily adopted the Hyatt as their home which meant that we had honey within the first two months of their residence here,” said Siebs. “We will serve the honey for breakfast and also give it away as souvenirs from Poland under the Łazienki Gold label.”

Medieval Poland was famous for honey and wax. Beekeepers were granted their own special privileges. The penalty for destroying beehives or stealing bees was death.

Today, Poland is one of the leading producers of honey in Europe. Nevertheless, honey consumption is significantly smaller than in the rest of the European Union. Annually, Poles consume on average 0.6 kg of honey per capita; while in Germany, the figure is 2 kg and in Greece 3.5 kg.

There are nearly 50,000 beekeepers in Poland; the number of bee colonies is estimated at about 1.2 million. Annual honey production in Poland reaches almost 23,000 tons. Polish honey is of high quality. It has an exceptional aroma and is popular with consumers from Western Europe.

Jolanta Wolska
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