Bee Downtown is about to create the nation’s largest healthy honeybee corridor in an effort to rebuild the health of a population responsible for pollinating 70 of the world’s top 100 food crops.
On Monday, Sept. 9, Bee Downtown will officially connect more than 60 miles of healthy honeybee pollinated space in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region through the installation of three beehives on MetLife’s Cary campus.
The corridor, which was created through years of partnership with many of the most prominent companies in the Triangle, contains upwards of 150 hives amounting to more than 9.5 million honeybees. The corridor extends from Durham, through the entirety of Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, down to Garner, North Carolina.
Honeybees play an important role in the Earth’s ecosystem and food chain by pollinating plants, trees, and crops. Every third bite of food humans consume comes as a result of a honeybee’s pollination. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, beekeepers in the U.S. lost an estimated 40.7 percent of their managed honey bee colonies during its 2018-19 survey, up somewhat from the longer-term 37.8 percent average rate.
The Bee Downtown healthy honeybee corridors found currently in North Carolina and Atlanta are unlike anything else in the country. While most beekeepers keep large numbers of bee hives in one location, Bee Downtown has small numbers of hives strategically placed at corporations throughout the cities in which they operate. As more and more companies join the Bee Downtown program, the three-mile radius the bees from each hive fly begin to overlap, creating a connected line throughout the city. Since the hives are all maintained through the same expert management process, they act as a valuable control group for assessing environmental health in the cities where they are found.
“North Carolina is about to become home to the longest strategically connected healthy honeybee corridor in the country. MetLife’s Cary campus was our missing link in the final connection point between The Research Triangle Park and Raleigh and we are thrilled to have them join the Bee Team,” said Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, Founder and CEO of Bee Downtown. “The Triangle’s corporate commitment to the environment, agriculture, and creating a great place for employees to work is truly inspiring and we are proud to call North Carolina home.”