(POCANTICO HILLS, NY—JUNE, 2011)—Sometimes, you've just got to bee-lieve. Scientists say that honeybees have heightened color vision, and this is being put to the test here at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where beekeepers have painted the hives different Benjamin Moore paint colors.
"It's an experiment to see if the distinctive colors help bees associate with the correct hive when returning from a fight with a day's collection of pollen," said Jill Isenbarger, Stone Barns executive director, who explained that it is also part of the center's efforts to keep the hives healthy. "Over 80% of crops depend on bees for pollination, so we want to do as much as we can to keep their habitats in top condition. And, when we asked Benjamin Moore to help us with this project, they stepped right in, underwriting the program with their paint and financial support."
In helping the non-profit farm and education center with the colored hive experiment, Benjamin Moore's communications director, Eileen McComb, said, "The concept of working with Stone Barns made sense, since we admire what it represents to the community as a sustainable food resource and aligns with Benjamin Moore's own beliefs and practices in environmental stewardship."
Local high school students participating in the center's farm education program helped paint the property's 11 hives in a selection of lively colors that include Benjamin Moore's victorian purple (1370), poseidon (664) and bright yellow (2022-30). Benjamin Moore donated Aura® Exterior Paint for the project, a coating known to withstand punishing weather conditions.
"Aside from what we hope will be helping the bees recognize the color and their hives," said Isenbarger, "the coat of paint will have other welcome benefits. It adds to the hive's durability, and we won't have to replace them as frequently. Plus, the colors will help the farmers to identify diseases in the hive they might not otherwise have spotted on the raw, unpainted wood. They've reported that symptoms are more visible against the painted surface. Additionally," she said, "the use of lighter colors is helping to keep the hives cooler in the strong sunlight."
About 25 miles north of Manhattan, Stone Barns harvests and sells its own honey, which also is used in recipes served at the center's partner restaurant on the 80-acre grounds and at its sibling New York City location. Isenbarger said that the average honey yield annually at Stone Barns is about 100 pounds per hive per year, although the farmers only collect 10-15 pounds from each hive, leaving the rest for the bees to eat.
About Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore & Co., a Berkshire Hathaway company, was founded in 1883. One of the country's leading manufacturers of premium quality residential, commercial and industrial maintenance paints and other coatings, its products are distributed via a network of independent paint and decorating retailers throughout North America. Benjamin Moore has been a longstanding steward of the environment with a relentless commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices plus the ongoing development of the most eco-responsible paint formulations possible. Its portfolio of Green Promise® products continues to grow and includes Aura®, an über-performance low-VOC paint; Natura®, the true zero-VOC interior paint, remaining zero after tinting in any color, any sheen; and EcoSpec® zero-VOC paint for commercial interiors. The J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Interior Paint Satisfaction Study ranked Benjamin Moore highest in consumer satisfaction. What's more, the Benjamin Moore color offering of 3,300 hues is unrivaled, but any custom color choice can be matched, as was recently done for the White House Oval Office ceiling and trims. The only assurance of getting an authentic Benjamin Moore color is using Benjamin Moore paint, since the colorants and resins are proprietary and formulated with the company's own patented waterborne technologies. And, authentic Benjamin Moore colors are available exclusively from Benjamin Moore retailers.
About Stone Barns Center
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture operates a non-profit 80-acre four-season farm and is working on broader initiatives to create a healthy and sustainable food system. Through farmer training, children's education, and diverse public awareness efforts, Stone Barns aims to improve the way America eats and farms. To learn more, visit www.stonebarnscenter.org. Stone Barns operates a non-profit 80-acre four-season farm and is working on broader initiatives to create a healthy and sustainable food system. Through farmer training, children's education, and diverse public awareness efforts, Stone Barns aims to improve the way America eats and farms.