Expo 2020 arranges new home for unexpected visitors

14 Jan 2019
bees relocation - expo 2020 dubaiA colony of honey bees that set up home on the Expo 2020 Dubai site has been safely relocated, thanks to a team effort by the World Expo’s Sustainability department, the Beekeepers Association and the quick-thinking construction worker who uncovered the insects.

Although not native to the UAE, the Apis mellifera bees nested in a pile of steel rebar on the plot of the Sustainability Pavilion. In line with its subtheme of Sustainability, Expo 2020’s 4.38 sqkm site is pesticide-free – one possible reason behind the bees’ decision to settle at this location.


Construction was temporarily halted and Expo’s Sustainability team contacted the Beekeepers Association to find out if the colony could be rescued through its ‘Adopt a Beehive’ initiative.


The insects had not had time to build a honeycomb, suggesting that they nested less than 24 hours before being spotted. As loose bees can be tricky to collect, relocating the swarm was a complicated process.


Even so, with the help of the courageous worker who made the initial discovery, plus a selection of protective clothing, the bees and their queen were removed by hand and placed in a cardboard box for transportation to the Beekeepers Association’s Bee Garden in The Sustainable City, Dubai.


Salar Memon, Environmental and Sustainability Engineer at ASGC, and the person who discovered the nest, said: “I never expected to find a colony of honey bees living on a construction site but, once I discovered the insects, I knew something had to be done. That is why I volunteered to help Expo 2020 and the Beekeepers Association with the rescue; I wanted to make sure the bees found a new home.”


The colony has since doubled in size and visitors to Expo 2020 may even have an opportunity to taste some of the honey produced by the hive.


Sustainability has never tasted so sweet.