East Hampton Airport is NY’s first to deal with beehives

East Hampton Airport (HTO) is buzzing – and that’s the first factor.

The diseased facility is the brand new home of approximately 200,000 endangered honeybees that live in six flowering hives on the property.

“We always get so much negativity about the airport, complaints about noise or a negative carbon footprint, so adding bees was a way to give back and help the honeybees,” said Bernadette Ruggiero, co-manager of Sound Aircraft Services operated by HTO.

Wainscott Airport has been the subject of controversy for years – neighbors arguing over the summer noise and air pollution caused by side visitors from private jets and helicopters by the likes of Jay-Z, Beyoncé. used and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But now HTO has a special form of VIP.

Chris Kelly of Promise Land Apiaries arranges the beehives at the end of a runway, in a wooded area of ​​bushes, wildflowers and blueberry bushes about 3/4 of a mile from the terminal.

“Six hundred acres is plenty of open land for the bees to forage, and my expectation of success has been borne out by both the amount of honey collected and the growth of the beehives,” said Kelly.

East Hampton Airport is facing a potential closure due to complaints about noise and pollution.East Hampton Airport is facing an achievable closure due to complaints about noise and air pollution.Estefany Molina

Bees could be expensive and even harmful at airports. In 2012, about 15,000 swarmed a traffic light in Pittsburgh, causing delays due to visibility problems. That same year, thousands of honeybees descended on the wings of a Delta flight from Pittsburgh to New York City, stalling the refueling and baggage handling course.

Since then, airports across the country have employed beekeepers to confine the creatures. HTO is the first in New York State to achieve this.

Even so, taking care of them isn’t always a breeze. Access to the beehives must be strictly planned due to security points.

Kelly first set up 5 hives with around 10,000 bees each, but they have grown a lot, the amount has changed to over 30,000 per beehive. One beehive grew so short {that a second queen moved away to build a brand new dwelling in a nearby tree house that Kelly moved straight to a sixth beehive.

And he mentioned that there is no danger of the pollinators swarming planes.

“You’re not anywhere near the planes taking off,” Kelly said.

Ruggerio expects to quickly set up an “education day” at the airport after recently buying “a ton of bee suits” for guests. There are also plans for a “Bee Cam” so that passengers in the terminal can watch the beetles, and a “Honey Harvest Festival” on Columbus Day weekend.

The airport plans to donate the collected honey to local nonprofit organizations or to promote it, as well as donate the proceeds, said Ruggiero.

Talks have begun about increasing the hives of HTO – possibly doubling the amount by the following year – and investigating the environmental impact of airport visitors on local wildlife.

But first of all, neighbors want to determine the fate of the airport.

In September, the Federal Aviation Administration’s pledges to the HTO will expire, leaving the fate of the besieged airport in the hands of the city – and some residents are all in favor of shutting it down because of the noise.

The East Hampton City Council will address the matter publicly on Tuesday.

For now, Kelly is simply focused on keeping his tenants happy: “The more attention we can get for the health and welfare of honeybees, the better.”

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