Wright-Patterson named ‘Bee City USA’ site

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Wright-Patterson named ‘Bee City USA’ site

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A beekeeper moves bees to Huffman Prairie at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on June 16, 2015. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Planes aren’t the only things with wings buzzing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The base was the first military installation to earn the “Bee City USA” designation: The number of pollinator honey bees swarming around hives has flourished five fold in two years as the bees indulge in abundant food, water and nesting sites, officials say.

The Bee City USA designation marks an national initiative to shore up the pollinators ecosystem to reverse the decline of bees, which are essential to pollinate plants in the human food chain.

In 2015, Wright-Patterson set up several hives near Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

“The honey bee colonies at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are in excellent health,” Danielle Trevino, a Wright-Patterson natural resources technician said in a statement to this newspaper. “We started two years with approximately four colonies and approximately 50,000 bees. Today we have nine colonies and approximately 250,000 bees.”

Two colonies will be relocated to a remote area of the base in the coming weeks, she said.

The base has a public “Pollinator Expo” with about two dozens groups expected to be on hand between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Wright Brothers Memorial off Kauffman Avenue. Phyllis Stiles, founder and and director of Bee City USA, was expected to be at the gathering.

The expo will be rescheduled to June 28 if inclement weather cancels the event.

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