Show Me the Honey: Sainsbury’s Hive Network Aids Bee Crisis


Bees are the buzzing guardians of the food chain–without them, some of our favorite fruits and vegetables (strawberries, almonds, watermelon, and cucumbers, to name a few) would never get pollinated. That realization–along with a deepening bee crisis –has prompted British grocery chain Sainsbury’s to build a network of bee hotels across London.

The move comes after Sainsbury’s tested eight pilot bee hotels (aka bee hives) at a store in Dursley, Gloucestershire. The 38 new hotels, which are made out of timber and recycled materials, will be maintained by a local graduate student who will send data to bee research programs. Sainsbury’s already has its own bee hive design, but the company might eventually want to consider adopting one of the luxury bee hotel designs completed as part of London’s Beyond the Hive competition.

This isn’t Sainsbury’s first foray into beekeeping. In 2005, the company launched a program with agricultural suppliers to sow a pollen and nectar seed mix across 500 acres of farmland. It makes sense for the chain–after all, if there are no bees to pollinate our food, Sainsbury’s won’t have anything to sell. We have to wonder: Why aren’t more major grocery chains taking similar steps to secure their futures?