Honey Bees at the MFA

On our rooftop, 120,000 bees live in 12 hives, pollinating the urban gardens of downtown St. Petersburg. We have partnered with Noble Nectar Apiaries to provide a residence for these hives that needed a home. The bee hives are on our rooftop, and are not accessible to visitors and only occasionally seen by staff. With city parks immediately north and south of the MFA, the bees benefit from the great variety of plant species in close proximity to the museum.

Fun facts about the honey bees:

  • Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, allow almost 70 percent of all flowering plants to reproduce.
  • The fruits and seeds from insect-pollinated plants make up over 30 percent of the foods and beverages that we consume. In Florida, commodity crops like blueberries, watermelons, cucumbers and onions would produce little to no fruit if it were not for the honey bee, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture.
  • In the past 20 years, the global phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder has seen great improvements but there is still the need to protect our little pollinators.
  • There are over 20,000 known types of bees, spanning across every continent except Antarctica, and their ancestors have existed for 80 million years. Honey bees make up a small percentage of the known types of bees. Honey bees are not the same as bumble bees, wasps, or yellow jackets.
  • The Florida heat does not bother the bees. They are free to fly in and out of their hives all day. A worker bee will come and go from its hive all day long, over 300,000 times in its lifetime!
  • Honey bees have five eyes, four wings, six legs, and two stomachs (one for food, one for nectar).
  • Honey bees die when they lose their stinger, so they don’t want to sting anyone. They will only do so when they feel threatened.

Photo courtesy of Allison Lynn Photography and Noble Nectar Apiaries.

MFA Honey Bees in the news

Urban Beekeeping: New Hives An Artful Addition To St. Petersburg MuseumWUSF News

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg rooftop honey beesTampa Bay Times

Bees Find New Home Atop Art Museum in St. Pete – Fox 13

St. Pete Bees Create Quite a BuzzNortheast Journal