If you haven’t already heard the story of Herman Miller’s wasp-defeating, wildflower pollinating, incredibly productive honey bees, you should check out this sweet video. If you know about the 24 busy hives located on the grounds of our GreenHouse facility–an award-winning “ecologically intelligent” manufacturing site–I’m here to tell you about what those bees do during long West Michigan winters when Black-Eyed Susans are scarce on the ground.
The GreenHouse hives are maintained by a local beekeeper who also has an operation in Georgia. In autumns past, Herman Miller’s bees were transported to the Peach State, where they could continue to produce the quantities of honey that are the happy side effect of a pesticide-free solution to an aggressive paper wasp problem. But, as for many human residents of northern climes, a recessionary economy and high fuel costs have conspired to keep the GreenHouse bees home this winter.
So while workers inside the seating operations plant continue to weather tough economic times, their apian counterparts outside form big, shivering clusters in their snow-covered hives. Worker bees take turns at the warm center (around 80 degrees F) and the chilly outer edges (46-48 degrees F)–so all can survive.