What is the Community Apiary?

Cranberry Highlands’ Community Apiary is designed to be a community resource for education about pollination and beekeeping.  A part of the golf course’s Audubon Sanctuary certification program, the pollinator garden provides a bee-friendly habitat adjacent to the municipal golf course for honey beehive placement and instruction. Honey bees are essential to our global ecosystem as they work hard to pollinate farm crops and other plants that bring us a third of the foods we eat. The Community Apiary is a joint project of Cranberry Township – which owns the facility – together with Cranberry Highlands, the Cranberry Township Community Chest, and Burgh Bees. We welcome your interest and involvement.

Community Beekeeping is welcome!

If you are currently a beekeeper and looking for a place to house your hives Cranberry Highlands Community Apiary is accepting applications.  Please complete the Waiver of Liability and Lease and ByLaws forms and submit to: Mason.Miller@cranberrytownship.org; or mail to Mason Miller, Cranberry Township Public Works, 20729 Rt. 19, Cranberry Township, PA 16066. If you are interested in beekeeping, we encourage you to contact us to find out how you can become involved. 

Importance of Pollinators

Pollinating species are crucial to sustain a healthy ecosystem. Their symbiotic relationship with flowing plant species allows for the reproduction and distribution of a wide range of plants while providing a host of resources for the pollinators themselves. Through the indirect action of the pollination process food and shelter are created for an abundance of living organisms. Humans are particularly dependent upon pollinators to fuel our agricultural system. It is estimated that 90% of the worlds wild plants are fertilized by pollinators. One in three bites of food that we consume are in some way related to pollinating species.

image: Hero for the Planet

lifecycle of plants

hummingbird feederWhat You Can do to Promote Pollinators

Pollinators have been declining due to disease, parasites, climate change, habitat loss, and chemical pollution. If you would like to contribute to the health of pollinating species, you can participate by taking the following steps:

  • Plant flowering species  Pennsylvania native flowering species are the most familiar to our local pollinators, but any flowering plant will help the cause. Learn more about plants native to Pennsylvania
  • Let the plants go  By retaining the dead stems on your garden plants you are providing a city for pollinating insects to take shelter in the cold winter months. 
  • Go easy on the chemicals Herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are extremely detrimental to pollinating insects. Their effects on pollinators are magnified because of the frequency of their exposure and the toxicity level in relation to their small body sizes. 
  • Hang a hummingbird feeder Not only are you providing a food source, but you get to witness one of the most magical looking birds on our earth.

InsMason Bee Hivetall a Mason bee hive- This non-technical and non-expensive hobby allows the average person to become a beekeeper in their own right. The beehives add a new dynamic to your back yard.   Image: Amazon

butterfly boxesInstall a butterfly box- butterfly boxes can make great additions to your garden while the butterflies provide some color in your life.   Image: Pinterest

Get involved- Discover how you can become involved with the local community apiary. Whether you want to become a bee keeper, or just want to help we will find a niche for you. Call us at 724-776-4806 ext 1517 to see how you can help.

Pollinator Garden Location

apiary picture

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the pollinator garden? To provide a central location for pollinator education and community honey beehive placement. To promote Cranberry Highlands Audubon Sanctuary Certification through introduction of pollinator habitat.

Where is the Pollinator Garden Located? The garden is located on the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course in an environmental conservation area adjacent to hole #12. 

Can I play my ball if it is hit into the garden? No, the garden will be considered out of bounds.

Will the honey bees be on the course? Honey Bees gravitate to flowers for nectar. Due to the lack of flowering plants, on the golf course, you can expect that there won’t be many honey bees around the course. They will take advantage of the wildflowers along the wood line surrounding the golf course.

Should I be concerned that a honey bee may sting me? Unlike Wasps and hornets, honey bees are not naturally aggressive. They do not want to sting you. In fact, they sting you, they die. If a honey bee is seen on the course, let it go about its business and it will return the favor to you.

What type of safety practices are used to ensure the safety of the golfers? Location - We placed the pollinator garden on the back breast of the pond on hole #12 so that there was a minimum buffer zone of 150 feet in any direction from any honey bee hive. The pond, garden, and wooded area act as buffer zones keeping hives away from golf play.

  • Fencing - We placed an electrified fence around the garden to keep pests out. The fence will only be active at night. Secondary non-electric gates are placed at both the North and South entrances of the garden to prevent golfers from getting to close and to keep out unauthorized persons.
  • Safety Signs - Both honey bee and electric fence signs are placed around the garden to make golfers aware that honey bees are present. 
  • Landscaping - We filled the garden with a diverse range of flowering plant life to keep the honey bees where they belong. Taller plant species with heavy foliage were strategically placed so that they will act as buffers for hole #12.
  • Hive Placement - We placed the hives in the center of the pond breast to maximize the distance away from golfers.

Will I get electrocuted by the fence? No, the fence is programed to turn on after peak hours at the golf course. There are secondary non-electric fences in place to prevent golfers from getting to close. If you are on the grounds after sunset the fence will be on!