Hive Helpers

How to Recycle All Those Political Signs—and Help Honeybees, Too

Donate your signs to Sarasota Honey Company, where they'll help keep bees warm.

By Megan McDonald November 6, 2020

election signs, yard signs

We may still be waiting on the official results of this year's elections, but election day itself has come and gone—and that means you have to figure out what to do with all those political yard signs. Recycle them? Save them for posterity? Shove them into your garage and forget about them for the next decade?

Beekeeper Alma Johnson has a better idea: Donate them to her Sarasota Honey Company, where they can help keep honeybee hives warm.

Yes, this is the most adorable way to recycle a political sign we've ever heard of—and yes, there is a scientific reason why it helps the bees. "Hives have to say at a constant 98 degrees," Johnson explains. When the temperatures dip at night, the baby bees and the queen can get chilly, and that's not good for the hive.

"We take the corrugated plastic signs and put the base of the beehive, which is a screen that helps with ventilation and controls humidity issues, on top," Johnson says. "This way, a cool draft doesn't get into the hive." And, unlike a solid wood board, the corrugated plastic also prevents fungal infections in the bees.

Johnson says she can also use the signs as a natural pest control to keep out vermin like small hive beetles and varroa destructors, a type of mite. To combat both pests, Johnson cuts squares into the sign, seals the bottom of it, and then fills the square holes with mineral oil or olive oil, plus a little apple cider vinegar. "The pests like the smell of the vinegar, and so they go into the trap and then can't get out because of the oil," she says.

Sarasota Honey Company's University Parkway storefront

Sarasota Honey Company's University Parkway storefront

If you're interested in donating your signs, Johnson encourages calling in advance to make sure she can use them, then dropping off during business hours, which are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and noon-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. She also requests that signs be tied together so they're easy for her staff—many of whom are special needs—to move.

Sarasota Honey Company is located at 2227 University Parkway, Sarasota. Call (941) 726-8755 for more information about donating signs.

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