Beehives provide many benefits for Redwood City Public Library

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a buzz around a Bay Area library and it's coming from the roof. Specifically, from two beehives which hold up to 100,000 bees and produce honey that's sold to fund programs at the Redwood City Public Library.

On a cloudy January afternoon, ABC7 News was invited as beekeeper Kendal Sager inspected the hives atop the Downtown Redwood City Public Library branch on Middlefield Road. Sager is a UC Davis Master Beekeeper and owner of Sager Family Farm, a children's nature education business. Wearing a protective suit, Sager opened up each beehive to get a look inside. She pointed out the queen bee, marked with a green dot. The queen is also distinctive because of her long abdomen that's used to lay eggs in the hive. "Each hive has one queen inside of it and she's the mother of every single bee in here," Sager explained. She found several eggs as well as larvae, baby bees, in the hive. As the weather warms up and more flowers bloom, creating more pollen for the bees, those babies will hatch and help forage the extra pollen for the hive to create honey.

The hives were installed on the library's roof in 2018. In 2019, the bees produced 180 pounds of honey. Sales raised $3,000 for the library.

"The only other public library I'm aware that's doing this is Boulder Public library in Colorado," says Derek Wolfgram, the Library Director for the Redwood City Public Library. He adds, "I think people really like it. It's something that's a little unexpected. It's fun and educational and right in the wheelhouse of what we try to do at the library - to give people something that's maybe a little bit beyond what they would normally expect."

The library maintains a live-streaming camera focused on the beehives as well as a Facebook page for the bees, which is run by the Friends of the Redwood City Public Library. The Friends group operates the sale of the bees' honey, when supplies are available.
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