City agencies, Rutgers partner to create 'hotels' and 'bunkers' to keep native bees safe around NYC

Kemberly Richardson Image
Friday, April 26, 2024
City agencies, Rutgers partner to create bee bunkers around NYC
Kemberly Richardson has more on the hotels and bunkers for bees.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you see bees nesting around certain public plazas and open streets around the city in the future, just know that's their "hotel" or "bunker".

Those hotels and bunkers are coming courtesy of an initiative -- the Pollinator Port Project -- announced on Thursday between the city's Department of Transportation, The Horticultural Society and Rutgers University to create habitats for native bees. Vegetation will also be planted to provide nourishment for bees and other pollinators.

"Our Open Streets and public plazas have always buzzed with activity, but this year they're going to be the bee's knees," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in a press release. "Bees are essential for the health of our planet, and this initiative will create habitats for at-risk native bee populations and help facilitate important scientific research."

According to the United Nations' Environment Programme, bees have fewer habitats in urban areas and often have long distances between green spaces in cities.

"Only one out of the roughly 100 species of native bees that makes its home in New York City can live in a hive, all the others have to find their own places to raise their offspring," said Rutgers University bee scientist Kim Russell.

Streets throughout the five boroughs make up roughly 27% of the land, and so placing the hotels and bunkers in public plazas and open streets like this is a good use of space.

"They can crawl into and lay their eggs and they take a rest but can come and go," Horticultural Society of New York's Sarah Hobel said. "They too need green to thrive, they need habitat throughout the city and to pollinate all the plants we need as people."

The plazas and Open Streets to be included in the project are Fordham Plaza, Parkside Plaza, Cooper Square Plaza, Quisqueya Plaza (Dyckman Plaza), Water Street on Staten Island, Gates Avenue and 34th Avenue.

"Once we get it down and we think it's working than we can make theses designs publicly available and communities and schools could create these on their own," added Russell.

Bee hotels and bunkers were tested in Parkside Plaza in Brooklyn and Fordham Plaza in the Bronx in 2023 as well.

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FILE - Heavy traffic fills Third Avenue, in New York's Manhattan borough near the United Nations, Sept. 20, 2021.
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