CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — In January, approximately 60,000 bees were stolen from the GIANT Company headquarters in Carlisle. Four months later, the bees are back. Two new beehives, housing 30,000 honeybees, have found a new home at GIANT’s seven-acre pollinator-friendly solar field.
“The theft of our bees and beehives in January brought to light the issue many beekeepers around the country are facing – not only have bee populations been declining for decades, now they are also being stolen,” said Nicholas Bertram, president of The GIANT Company. “Recognizing the impact bee colony loss has on our local food supply chain, we knew we would bring honeybees back to our corporate headquarters, but not everyone is as fortunate as us. That’s why we also wanted to support other local beekeepers impacted by this issue, too.”
Over time, the company will continue to add to the colony and will ultimately house 450,000 honeybees in nine beehives by next year. The new hives will be protected behind a fence and under strict surveillance.
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“Fresh starts come from adversity. We found ourselves there, but it will never change our resolve to do what’s right and to help heal our planet. We’re always going to be working towards that,” said Bertram.
These bees are an educational tool across the community, as well. “It’s very important to have these bees here at the GIANT headquarters because it’s easy access, we can come here, there are groups from different schools that come here and actually learn a bit more about bees,” said Michael Poe, a beekeeper with Planet Bee.
“The other goal is to make honey, but also to make sure that people find out that pollinators are our friends and very important to the world that we live in,” Poe said.
The celebration of the new honeybees took place on Monday, June 20, during National Pollinator Week. At the event, GIANT also awarded grants to five Central Pennsylvania beekeepers for a total of $10,000 to help them replace bee colonies, rebuild beehives, and continue research.
“This grant will allow me to enhance bee breeding efforts, which ultimately enable better survival rates and provide strong queens to other local beekeepers in the Midstate,” said John Patterson, Midstate beekeeper.
Two years ago GIANT introduced the pollinator-friendly solar field at its headquarters, which contributes both to clean energy and support for bee and pollinator populations needed within the agriculture industry. It will house the new beehives and future ones added.
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