A Bee Hotel Blooms in Manhattan

Tue, 11/10/2016 - 15:40

High up in the rooftops of The Plaza, a Fairmont managed hotel in New York City, overlooking Central Park with its native wildflower meadows, a new Bee Hotel surrounded by bee-friendly blooms, shimmers in the sun. Together with the Highline further down the road in Chelsea, this flowing stream of wildflowers for bees and other pollinators is now the latest River of Flowers in Manhattan!

The five star grand Bee Hotel at The Plaza was constructed from repurposed materials originally sourced from Central Park. It is one of 15 bee habitats, which have been created at various Fairmont Hotels & Resorts across North America as part of the Fairmont’s Bee Sustainable Initiative, the FRHI Hotel Group's global programme to support bee health through habitat development and maintenance including the provision of forage. The design of this particular Bee Hotel is French-inspired, just like The Plaza itself, and replicates details of that iconic building. It was developed and curated in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy and the Fairmont’s international Bee Sustainable partner, River of Flowers.

Blue Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia lignaria).

Each Bee Hotel is a special structure created for cavity-nesting bees unique to each Fairmont Hotel, which provides accommodation for one of the world’s most effective pollinators – the solitary Mason Bee (Osmia) - as well as other types of cavity-nesting bees such as Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa or Ceratina). There are about 140 species of Mason Bee in North America including the Blue Orchard Mason Bee. Mason Bee males do not possess a sting and the females will only sting if threatened. In the wild, the Mason Bee lays eggs in small, natural cavities (6-8 mm) but will nest in the artificial nesting cavities of a Bee Hotel such as wooden blocks with holes drilled in them or hollow tubes. It's important to ensure that the nesting sites are regularly cleaned out, in case they become infested with parasites, and that the cavities are kept dry and free of mould.

Blue Passionflower (Passiflora cerulean)

Along with River of Flowers, the hotel’s floral designer Blondie’s Treehouse was an integral partner in helping to create a habitat attractive to bees and a safe resting and nesting place. Bee-friendly plants are part of the installation including Passionflower (Passiflora), Thyme (Thymus), Rosemary (Rosmarinus), Mint (Mentha), Cosmos (Cosmos) and Snapdragons (Antirrhinum), some of which are native to New York.


Bee Hotel & Garden at The Plaza © The Plaza

Blue Orchard Mason Bee © Rusty Burlew

Passionflower © Simon Rudolf