Riverside Park Conservancy announced this week that it installed special “houses” for native bees in Riverside Park.
In partnership with The Bee Conservancy, Riverside Park Conservancy placed bee houses in Riverside Park South and in the pollinator meadow at 119th Street, in order to provide safe shelter for native bee populations like Mason bees, Carpenter bees, Leaf-cutter bees, and Bumble bees. Bee houses can support bees through the hibernation season, and can help to increase the populations in coming years.
“We think of Riverside Park as a piece of a larger puzzle of green space in New York City,” said Dan Garodnick, President & CEO of Riverside Park Conservancy. “We extend a warm welcome to any native bees that want to make a home in the new houses, and will continue our work to ensure Riverside Park is as ecologically healthy as possible.”
Honey bees (Apis melliflora) tend to get a lot more attention than native bees do, and while all bees are vital to the health of ecosystems — and the agriculture that sustains us — the relationship between the species is complex. Honey bees, if raised in abundance, can end up out-competing native bees.
Regardless of the species, bees are vitally important to biodiversity on the planet – and thus, to the survival of humans. Around 75% of crop plants around the planet require pollination by animals and insects – a large portion of which are bees. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 bites of food you eat was pollinated by bees.
But bee populations are struggling due to habitat loss caused by the expansion of suburbs and urban environments, as well as the agricultural practice of pesticide use. If bees were to go extinct, our food system would be drastically altered – and the delicate balance of biodiversity in ecosystems around the world would take a major hit.
Parks and green spaces can be invaluable in helping to support local bee populations, and Riverside Park Conservancy has been working with The Bee Conservancy to make Riverside Park more inviting and safe for them.
Native bees do not create the iconic honey-producing hives that many of us are used to seeing, so these bee houses mimic plant reeds and cavities in trees that they would naturally shelter in. Native bees are solitary, and each female bee is a queen who will lay about 10 larvae in the fall that will hatch next year. The bee houses can support several bees through the hibernation season, and will hopefully help to increase the populations in coming years.
Follow The Bee Conservancy. Follow Riverside Park Conservancy. While you’re here, check on the Goats! Take a walk through the park and view RE: GROWTH and Adrian Sas: Source to Spout. Take a look at past events and installations in Riverside Park.