The beehive was installed in May above Tommy Hilfiger, the result of a partnership between Tanger Factory Outlet Center and urban beekeeping company Alvéole. Holly Conner, marketing director for Tanger Outlets Fort Worth, said the partnership with Alvéole presented an opportunity to connect with the community and further the retail center’s commitment to the environment.
“We were able to host these hives, increase the population of the urban pollinators, which we know are vital to human food consumption, and at the same time, kind of connect with our local community in a unique and engaging manner,” she said.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, 71 out of the 100 crops that dominate the world’s food supply rely on bees for pollination. Despite this, bees and other pollinating animals have seen their population decline because of habitat loss, pesticide use, parasites and more, according to Alvéole. Over the last decade, North America lost 50% of its managed honeybee colonies, the company said in a blog post.
Most of the bees in the hive are worker bees, according to a statement by Tanger Outlets. Those bees will work throughout the summer to collect nectar and pollen and produce around 100 jars of honey, which Conner said the retail center plans to share with shoppers and the local community. Further details on that plan will be announced in the future.
“It's important to us to kind of share this with our neighbors, share it with the community and let everyone be able to kind of experience what we were able to do here with this project,” she said.
Honey will be harvested from the hive near the end of the beekeeping season, which usually ends in the fall, Conner said. At that time, beekeeper Rock Delliquanti will prepare the hive for winter, and the bees will switch from producing honey to protecting the queen from cold weather, Conner said.
“When the temperature drops ... the bees kind of form a cluster around the queen, from what I understand, and they vibrate their wings and their muscles to maintain a temperature of 91 degrees inside the hive,” she said. “So it's still pretty warm in there, even during the winter months.”
Then, in February or March, the weather will warm up, and the bees will start their work again, Conner said, pollinating plants in a 3-mile radius around the hive.
Throughout the year, Delliquanti will hold virtual workshops at the site to educate the community. Those include spotting the queen and, if the bees need it, expanding the hive, Conner said. Details on future events will be announced on Tanger Outlets Fort Worth’s social media and the bees’ online profile on MyHive—one of Alvéole’s features.
The company partners with businesses and schools to install and care for bee colonies in urban settings. According to Alvéole’s website, the goal of the initiative is to engage communities by raising awareness of environmental issues as well as providing sustainability certifications and brand boosting for companies.
The partnership with Tanger Outlets began with a hive at a retail center in Ottawa, Canada, and has expanded to six Tanger Outlets locations in the United States, Conner said.
“It's a Tanger Outlets project that the company has undertaken to really pioneer this,” she said. “Just [being] committed to environmental productivity and social responsibility.”