ComEd Welcomes 80,000 Honeybees to Five Acres of Prairie in Powerline Corridor
ComEd welcomes back beehives for the third year in a row to protect pollinators, build on regional efforts to protect wildlife habitats and ecosystems
CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Buzz around town is that there are two new queen bees in the neighborhood. ComEd announced today the return of honeybee hives – part of a recurring initiative by the company to host honeybee hives below its transmission lines to raise awareness about the urgent need to promote pollinator populations and their valuable contributions to the ecosystem. Two honeybee hives have been installed on five acres of prairie where half a mile of ComEd powerlines run in Prospect Heights, Illinois.
This is the third year ComEd has hosted honeybee hives on its right of way (ROW) land to raise awareness about the urgent need to promote pollinator populations and their valuable contributions to the ecosystem.
“Pollinators like bees and butterflies are the heroes of our ecosystem that help keep food on our tables. Unfortunately, their access to food and safe habitats are in danger,” Neena Hemmady, vice president of support services at ComEd. “It is our responsibility to conserve wildlife and pollinator habitats, which is why we are excited to welcome back our honeybees. This summer, they will be busy bees, enjoying acres of native plants and pollinating the prairie under our power lines while creating their own honey.”
Helping to support the installation of this year’s bee hives is Alveole, a global beekeeping company that collaborates with businesses to further their sustainability efforts. ComEd has partnered with Alveole for the past three years to install and maintain the beehives, harvesting 42.65 kilograms of honey for local communities along the way.
“The Prairie in Prospect Heights is a beautiful site, and I can see the bees doing very well for the long term due to the ample sunshine and native plants,” said Grace Hart, Alveole Urban Beekeeper. “The two queen bees will reign the prairie and are expected to lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. These two colonies are a part of an estimated 5,800,000 Alveole’s honeybees pollinating around Chicago.”
Protecting pollinators is urgent as bees, butterflies, birds and more than 200,000 other pollinator species are responsible for one out of every three bites of food humans eat and $20 billion worth of products annually in the United States. Today, pollinators face a growing threat of habitat loss as native vegetation is replaced by roadways, monoculture, and non-native plants, and their well-being is further threatened by humans’ overuse of pesticides and by climate change.
“With the help of a ComEd Green Regions Grant, we’ve turned an empty parcel into five acres of biodiverse prairie that boasts over 90 native species and a thriving network of pollinators including birds, local wildlife and insects,” said Dana Sievertson, Prospect Heights natural resources commissioner. “Today, we are pleased to be a part of the ComEd Pollinator Program and to welcome two hives at our location that will expand educational and ecological opportunities for residents of Prospect Heights and the surrounding area.”
In addition to supporting vegetation growth, the honeybee hives benefit the community by producing honey. In 2021, the ComEd bees made 15.55 kilograms of honey, making up 120 jars of honey that ComEd donated to the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines.
ComEd is committed to expanding investments in pollinator protected habitats across the region. For this year’s National Pollinator Week, held June 20–26, ComEd reached a new milestone in pollinator habitat conservation, with nearly 4,000 acres of powerline corridor land now deemed pollinator habitats. As of 2022, ComEd has distributed 3 million milkweed seeds to feed monarch butterflies.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.