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Opening of the Apiary Exhibit in North Carolina City Park

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North Carolina City Park | The two hives that make up the new apiary—the scientific name for a bee garden—in the public park are already occupied by the bees. The New Hanover County Beekeepers Group has been working toward opening a public apiary for more than ten years, according to association president Susan Warwick.

“We have wanted bees in a public place for over ten to twelve years now,” she remarked. And we’re quite eager to see that come to pass.

The apiary, which recently hosted a ribbon cutting, is the first of its sort in the region, according to Warwick. The beekeepers and the city of Wilmington, which owns and maintains Halyburton Park, collaborated on the project.

The city of Wilmington cut down a dead tree branch this summer, and many of the bees that now reside in the apiary were moved from it, according to Andrea Dillon, treasurer of the New Hanover County Beekeepers Association.

Two hive boxes make up the apiary. Around 60,000 bees live in each box, which is also adorned by Regional Park with artwork that features venus flytraps, goldenrod, blackberries, and other flowering plants that the bees pollinate.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave the organisation, which holds monthly meetings and has more than 100 members, the chance to finally construct an apiary in a public area, according to Warwick. They started sending out “feelers” to see what their alternatives were. The city of Wilmington was sympathetic to the proposal, and Andy Fairbanks, the recreation director of North Carolina City Park , assisted in creating a memorandum of understanding between the group and the city.

The beekeepers focused on creating a habitat for the bees after receiving the all-clear. They eventually located two Boy Scouts who agreed to lend a hand in the construction of the apiary for their Eagle Scout projects.

Oliver Anguish built the “queen’s castle,” a box containing three hives with resources that can support the larger hives when they need it, and Ryan Sproull built the stand that supports the hives over the course of several weeks this summer. Sproull also built the fence-like enclosure that surrounds the apiary.

He described it as “basically three small beehives with like their own queens and everything.”

Two-year association president Warwick said the group has a “wish list” item for bringing bees into a public area because they see a public apiary as a method to educate the public about bees and the significant role they play as pollinators.

That is one thing that the club wants to share with the neighbourhood, according to Warwick. “(People) know that bees sting and that bees produce honey, but that’s about the extent of their knowledge,”

Warwick expressed her hope that by letting visitors to Halyburton Park learn about and watch bees, they will be able to appreciate the insects and make bee-aware decisions when choosing to use pesticides or spray for mosquitoes.

She remarked, “Perhaps if we can get people excited about it, they’ll take better care of the bees too.

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