City Food for City Bees

| 7/16/2013 1:17:00 PM

Tags: urban beekeeping, honeybees, beekeeping, Kim Flottum,
More and more bees are finding unlikely homes in urban settings.

Although the expansion of keeping bees in an urban setting is still going at light speed as new towns, cities and metropolises open their doors to folks who want a hive or two on the roof, the deck or in the backyard. More cities, too, are arranging places where beekeepers can put their hives when home just doesn’t work…like public gardens, public apiaries are springing up in lots of places.

One extremely positive aspect of this is that so far, knocking on wood here, there hasn’t been a major, or even a minor honey bee/people event reported (I know, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been something, but my extensive urban sources haven’t heard of anything). One of the major point every new urban beekeeper that goes through a training course is how to work and take care of bees to avoid just such a confrontation.

There have been some commerce issues. Aggressive beekeepers looking to corner the honey market, or the bees-for-sale market, or the bee equipment market in a particular locale have caused problems. I know everything costs more in the city, but doubling the price of a starter kit and bees is less than honest.

And there are some of these folks who aren’t new to the game and have moved into a location to take advantage of the new folks, setting up classes, selling equipment, and the greatest sin of all, overloading a small urban, or suburban lot with way more bees than anyone with common sense would consider. This, in turn causes real problems with neighbors, and ultimately all beekeepers suffer because of a single, greedy, ignorant person with bees…I am hesitant to call a person like this a beekeeper.

But fortunately, both of these behaviors have been infrequent, and those that have been injured, as it were, are other beekeepers, not the public. As a result, any negative attention raised has been more or less in-house, and not for public discussion.

But now that cities and towns have had bees for a while some of the original questions that were asked about town bees are being answered, while some are still are still unknowns.

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