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Westchester’s Bee Population Got a Little Bigger (and It’s a Good Thing)

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Photos courtesy of the Cross County Center, provided by Dean & Bender

The Cross County Center in Yonkers welcomes some buzzworthy new customers: tens of thousands of honeybees.

Bees can often have a bad reputation (those stingers are no joke!). But the noble honeybee is actually one of the most important components of its ecosystem, pollinating flowers far and wide and helping plants continue the circle of life.

Without the honeybee there would be no honey (duh), but in recent years bee populations have trended downward as their natural habitats are affected by climate change and human activity.

Best Bees, a Massachusetts-based organization, is doing its best to counter these trends by installing and maintaining beehives across the Northeast. Recently, it stopped by Westchester to bolster the county’s native bee population.

The Cross County Center in Yonkers already features nearly 100 stores and restaurants, including Macy’s, H&M, Starbucks, and more, but now the mall will play host to two honeybee hives and up to 50,000 honeybees, who will go to work pollinating across Westchester County.

Honeybees can travel two to three miles from their hives, so these bees in Yonkers might make appearances in Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, and elsewhere.

Bees at cross county center

Photo courtesy of Cross County Center

The hives were inaugurated at a ceremony this past Earth Day. They contain 90% worker bees, 10% drones, and one queen bee apiece.

“This pollinator program reinforces Cross County Center’s commitment to the environment and the role we serve as business leaders in the community,” said Liz Pollack, Senior Marketing Manager at Cross County Center. “Bees are essential to the environment, and we hope to help educate our shoppers with fun, interactive programs that will take place year-round.”

The bees of Cross County Center will be monitored for health and impact by highly trained professional beekeepers and, come late summer when the hives are chock full of honey, they will be expertly harvested, and the bees’ bounty shared with customers.

Related: A Look at Westchester County by the Numbers

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