Chicago is home to urban beehives at City Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Marriott on the Magnificent Mile and Chicago’s Swedish Covenant Hospital Health.
Tony Vancauwelaert, MD, the hospital medical director, does the beekeeping at the hospital’s Foster Medical Pavilion, which has a vegetative, green roof that reduces stormwater. The green roof proved to be a great place for urban beehives.
Vancauwelaert started beekeeping as a hobby at his home in 2011. When a 2013 study published in the Annals of Saudi Medicine found consuming honey improved the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and showed positive results as a complementary therapy for other allergies, Vancauwelaert’s patients, friends and family started getting samples. The doctor’s urban beehives produce honey as well as beeswax products like lip balm, beard balm, foot salve and “paw wax” for dogs.
He proposed adding urban beehives to the new green roof to the hospital’s chief executive officer, chief legal counselor and senior engineer, according to Medpage Today.
When the senior engineer asked about bees entering the new building’s air intake system, Vancauwelaert arranged to have the senior engineers at City Hall and the other urban beehive sites speak to the hospital about those concerns.
The hives were installed on the new building in time for the open house. Now each year, the hospital’s community lecture series includes two events, Dr. Tony’s Bees, where Vancauwelaert gives a beekeeping lecture and hosts a tour of the roof and hives.
Did you know that consuming local honey can help prevent seasonal allergies? Join Dr. Tony Vancauwelaert, a beekeeper and family medicine physician with Swedish Covenant Medical Group, for a conversation about the beehives stationed on our rooftop, the benefits of bees in our ecosystem and how you can help keep them thriving. Just before dusk, when the bees are reaching slumber, we will travel to the roof to see the beehives.
More than 500 have visited the rooftop urban beehives.