“Bee Hotels” to be Established in Selected NYC Plazas as Part of the “Pollinator Port Project” to Safeguard Endangered Native Bees and Pollinators

The Pollinator Port Project, led by the city Department of Transportation in collaboration with the Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) and Rutgers University, aims to provide new habitats for at-risk native bees in the city. The project involves the installation of “bee hotels” and “bee bunkers” in select public plazas and open streets, along with vegetation to nourish native bees and other pollinators.

A 2022 report by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation revealed that 38% to 60% of New York’s native pollinators are at risk due to declining populations. These pollinators are crucial for the pollination of flowering plants, wildflowers, garden plants, and cultivated crops.

The Hort’s executive director, Sara Hobel, stated that the Pollinator Port Project is part of a broader effort to expand the city’s green space, particularly in underserved areas and city streets. Researchers from Rutgers University will also study the city bees, their use of the habitats, and their movement throughout the region.

The “bee hotels” resemble bird houses filled with natural materials like reeds and bamboo, providing nesting spaces for solitary bees. The “bee bunkers” offer protected soil environments for female bees to burrow and build nests for their eggs, serving as winter shelters for developing larvae.

Last year, these habitats were tested in Parkside Plaza in Brooklyn and Fordham Plaza in the Bronx. They will be installed in several locations across the city starting Tuesday. Hobel assured that there is no need to worry about bee stings as native bees are small, docile, and rarely sting. To monitor their movements, the bees will be sprayed with a biodegradable coloring.

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez expressed his support for the initiative, stating that it will create habitats for at-risk native bee populations and facilitate important scientific research.

Source: gothamist.com

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