Bees can thrive in areas populated by people but tend to do best in areas with lots of vegetation. But one company is installing large hives in business parks and downtown buildings mainly across the southeast.
"We have become reliant on honeybees specifically for our modern food production," said Eric Walgren, a beekeeper for Bee Downtown.
Bee Downtown is a company dedicated to installing sustainable bee colonies in places you might not otherwise see them. Hearty honey bee populations aren’t as common in some areas because of humans.
"All the native bees are having a tough time due to the development of land and pesticides," said Ben Dictus, the principal beekeeper for the company.
Fox News joined Dictus and Walgren as they cracked open a hive in Charlotte to check the colony’s health, and to see if there was a queen bee. A queen helps indicate a healthy hive, and it didn’t take long for the pair to find one.
According to the company’s website, Bee Downtown mainly maintains hives on corporate campuses while simultaneously giving year-round employee engagement to many of its corporate partners, such as AT&T, Chic-Fil-A, and Delta Air Lines.
"We are helping the honeybees because we are keeping really strong, really healthy beehives in cities," said the company’s founder Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, adding that because there are currently fewer pollinators, small actions matter.
"There’s a lot of new companies out there, there is Hives for Heroes, that tries to work with veterans," said Dan Winter, the president of the American Beekeeping Federation.
The ABF says many companies are installing hives in urban areas around the nation, from Los Angeles to New York, because the bees help sustain trees, greenhouses, and gardens in densely populated areas.
"This tree right behind us, this redbud. The bees are pollinating that and it’s improving the local environment," Walgren said.
You might wonder: How safe is it to have 100,000 bees next to populated areas? Bee Downtown says it’s safe.
"There is a fence around the beehives. We don’t let people go in a certain area unless they are fully suited up," Bonner said
The bees were very calm as they were taken out of the hive. If hives aren’t calm, they’re replaced.