MCKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW) – The honey is flowing for the first time at six thriving beehives housing about 150,000 of the insects on land west of Medical City McKinney.

The hospital started cultivating the beehives on seven acres of undeveloped property last spring. It’s even adding plants native to Texas around the hospital campus to create natural food sources to help support the bees.

(credit: Medical City McKinney)

“As we embarked on the expansion of our newly opened behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation pavilion, we saw a unique opportunity to partner healthcare with sustainability. Honey bees support a healthy environment, improving human life all around us,” says Ernest C. Lynch, III, FACHE, CEO for Medical City McKinney.

Bees, which will travel two to five miles from their hive to gather pollen and nectar, are essential to pollinating flowers, fruits and vegetables. Cross-pollination is vital to the production of popular fruits and vegetables including strawberries, watermelons and cucumbers, as well as to the wildflowers that bloom in McKinney and other North Texas communities.

(credit: Medical City McKinney)

Bees produce honey from the floral nectar and store it in the hive. While the hospital did not collect enough “Sweet Home McKinney Honey” to share, Medical City McKinney will harvest the hives for honey again next summer and anticipates gathering several hundred pounds.

In addition to adding beehives, the hospital built a 300-foot retention pond on the property to capture surface rainwater runoff and to beautify the campus.