The Downtown Greenway beehive has been buzzing with excitement - and turmoil!
First established in April 2021, the honey bee hive is located within the Public Orchard at Meeting Place, our Tradition Cornerstone at the corner of Smith Street and Prescott Street. Thanks to the expertise and efforts of our volunteer beekeepers, Amy Moyle and TJ Mayer, the hive has successfully settled in over the last year and a half. Earlier this summer, however, things were not looking so great. For some reason, the original colony of Italian bees (a traditionally calm and docile breed, which is great for educational purposes) had moved out and abandoned the hive - possibly due to troublesome skunks in the area.
In their place, a new colony of "squatter bees" had moved in; however, they were certainly not as friendly. The result was a beehive full of rather angry and aggressive bees, who were not suitable for our community park setting. Even these bees were not happy with their situation, as there was then a mutiny within the colony! The drone bees decided they wanted to new leadership, and so the poor Queen met a tragic demise and was killed off. In actuality, this is not uncommon within honey bee colonies, but is typically done to help improve their overall colony health and reproductive abilities.
A hive without a Queen runs the risk of failing, so the drone bees got to work right away to prepare a replacement! One of the late Queen's daughter's - a worker bee egg - was then selected to become their new leader. After hatching, this particular larva was fed "royal jelly" to encourage her ultimate growth into their new Queen. Our hope was that this new Queen would help to calm her colony, seeing as they had grown her themselves - but the troubles did not stop there and the aggressive behavior continued.
Fast forward another month, and our beekeeper team embarked on a fascinating undertaking - to capture the Queen and replace her with a new (and calm) Italian Queen we purchased from Triad Bee Supply. So we did just that. Perhaps she sensed what was about to happen, because she was certainly difficult to locate. After almost 40 minutes of tedious searching through the frames and hive boxes, TJ spotted her! She was moved into a temporary beehive box, along with two of her frames that held some of the colony's pollen, honey, drones and workers; we wanted to be sure she was setup for success wherever she next called home.
We then walked down Prescott Street with the box - in full beekeeping attire no less, looking like a scene out of a science-fiction move - to donate these bees to a fellow beekeeper. Kaira Wagoner, PhD is a Research Scientist in UNCG's Biology Department, who studies honey bee health and also maintains the hives at the nearby Black Diamond Community Garden. She graciously accepted this donation and relocated our aggressive bee friends across town to another beehive location. Thankfully, after a few weeks of adjustment, our bees are thriving again. As the new Queen produced more eggs (of the Italian breed), the colony slowly transformed back to an entire community of docile Italian bees, and our friendly educational beehive is back. And the rest, as they say, is history!
We are back for the 13th Annual Downtown Greenway Run & Block Party on Saturday, October 8 from 4-8 pm at LoFi Park! Join us for the 1-mile fun run/walk/stroll or the 4-miled timed run, and stay for the after party! The route follows the completed sections of the Downtown Greenway, and the official detour route along the western side. All registered participants will receive this year's event t-shirt, post-run refreshments, and 2 drink tickets - redeemable for beer (age 21+) or soda, juice, or water.
This year's Block Party features a DJ, local food trucks, sponsor tents with giveaways, tailgate-style games, children's activities, raffle items, vendor booths, prize drawings, and more! Be there to join the fun - all ages and dogs are welcome!
Registration is open for the 1-mile and 4-mile events - don't delay and register today! Early Bird pricing continues through August 31, 2022.
A special thank you to all our fabulous sponsors for this year's event:
Dawn S. Chaney Foundation
City of Greensboro
Joymongers Brewing Co.
The Cemala Foundation
Deep Roots Market
Downtown Greensboro Inc.
Greensboro Parks Foundation
Fox Rothschild LLP
Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union
Local businesses and organizations can apply to be a vendor and setup at the event.
Interested in volunteering? We have lots of opportunities to help as course monitors, at water stations, and throughout the block party event. Sign-up to volunteer and receive an event t-shirt and snacks!
For complete event details, schedule, and more please visit tinyurl.com/DGrun or contact Event & Race Director, Chelsea Phipps.
The Engineering and Inspections Department is an integral part of the public/private partnership with the Downtown Greenway and the City of Greensboro. We are grateful for our partnership with the Engineering and Inspections Department over the past ten years. Eric Tart currently serves as the project manager for the Downtown Greenway at the City, and he has served on the Greenway Technical Team for 6 years. Eric has successfully managed the project and has been proactive in continuing to move the construction along even during COVID, under the leadership of Department head, Kenney McDowell. John Fersner, Jason Geary and Melinda King have also played key roles in the Downtown Greenway’s construction.
Eric shared: “It has been a wonderful opportunity to work on such a unique project and to see it come together over time. It is definitely something I will look back on in the future with a great sense of accomplishment as likely the most signature project that I was intimately involved with during my time at the City.”
The Engineering and Inspections Department is dedicated to working with other City departments in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Greensboro residents by providing safe and reliable public infrastructure, homes, and workplaces, as well as creating healthy and attractive neighborhoods. They are committed to a customer-friendly, business-like environment while adhering to the core values established by the City of Greensboro.
As we finally see the end of the project in the near future, we appreciate the Engineering and Inspections team and their dedication to the project.
Click here for plans to make your own Mason Bee House.
Click here to learn more about all pollinators in an article in Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine.
Hi, my name is Reid Lorenz. I am a Senior at Grimsley High School and an approaching Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 101. You may have noticed new additions to two of the cornerstones on the Downtown Greenway, at the Edible Orchard at Meeting Place and Woven Works Park in the Bird, Bee, and Butterfly Pollinator Garden that surrounds Muddy Creek stream. These new additions are raised mason bee houses, small houses made of cedar wood and stuffed with bamboo rods that help protect and save the declining mason bee population. Recently, bees are in danger from extinction, due to parasites, pesticides, and colony collapse disorder. But when most people hear about bees becoming extinct, they automatically think of honeybees because they are more well-known and affect us more prominently as they are the main pollinators that help our food grow and end up in our homes. But mason bees are just as important. It is thought that one mason bee can do the work of 100 honeybees. Therefore, the main goal of these houses is to help these bees in their pollinating process and give them a nice home to thrive in.
In addition to designing, fabricating and installing the houses, I will also plant some pollinator plants around the bases of the three houses at Meeting Place in spring 2020. According to Charlie Headington, local permaculture gardener and member of the Permaculture Guild, mason bees prefer blue, purple, and yellow flowers, so planting purple hyacinth, blue asters, or yellow black-eyed susans are the best options. Back to the houses themselves, the reason for the bamboo inside the houses, is for each bee to have their own nest. They are known as solitary bees, because they neither live in colonies nor have a single queen. Rather, each female mason bee lays four or five eggs in small, natural holes or cavities, like the bamboo rods, each egg separated by mud. You may wonder why the houses are facing the direction that they are—mason bees are ectothermic which means that they can’t regulate their body temperature so their houses need to face a south/southeast direction so they can stay warm with the sun in the winter months.
I want to thank Dabney Sanders, Downtown Greenway Project Manager, for letting me put these houses on the Downtown Greenway and can’t wait for the bees to start to cultivate the houses in the spring.
Reid Lorenz, BSA Troop 101
Mark your calendar for this years event-it is something to BRAGG about! New location at 100 East Bragg Street on the Downtown Greenway at the corner of South Elm and Bragg Streets. We are collecting gently used kid and adult bikes for kids at Peck Elementary School. If you would like to donate a bike, please drop it off at REI -Friendly Center during business hours or contact Laura Lorenz at email@example.com.
We had a great night celebrating our Greenway volunteers on February 11 at Greensboro Project Space located at 219 West Lewis Street. Great conversation and delicious food from downtown business Chez Genese. We appreciate our volunteers -- and the time and support they give to the Downtown Greenway!
The Downtown Greenway was in the NCA&T Homecoming Parade on November 3rd announcing the start of construction on the next phase along Murrow Blvd from Gate City Blvd to Greene Street starting in January 2019. Click here to see the current construction timeline.
We had a great day at the 9th Annual Run 4 the Greenway-- lots of great costumes, runners and participants! Click here for more photos from the day.