Excitement was buzzing around the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) Tulsa headquarters this week as they welcomed 100,000 new employ-b-ees.
On May 24, BCBSOK installed two honeybee hives, each of which house approximately 50,000 Italian bees. Both hives are located on the roof of the parking garage.
In addition, 100 painted lady butterflies were released in the flower garden located on the BCBSOK campus.
The butterflies compliment the bees in helping pollinate the greenery, a significant benefit to the community surrounding BCBSOK. Along with producing honey, the bees are expected to pollinate 50 million flowers, plants, trees and shrubs within a three-mile radius of the downtown Tulsa office.
Big V Honey Bee, a local company out of Collinsville, provided the bees. Big V Honey Bee will help maintain the hives and harvest the honey in BCBSOK’s effort to continue its biodiversity and sustainability initiative.
“You, quite frankly, can’t live without (bees),” said Big V Honey Bee owner Christy Payne. “If you have a garden or commercial garden, they will increase your crop yield. They pollinate and are even better for your flower gardens.”
Jason Brown, BCBSOK manager of corporate real estate and facilities operations, said the addition of the bees helps BCBSOK continue its pursuit of being a good community partner.
“The wild bee population has been in decline due to use of pesticides and loss of habitat,” Brown said. “We want to provide honeybees with a safe and secure location to live out their lives. But the impact is greater than just two beehives on the rooftop of our parking garage. The impact is to the neighborhoods surrounding us, to the backyard gardener, to the hobbyist and even to our wonderful city parks.”