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Chim Chimney Beekeeping: The New Homesteading

“Homeowners and apartment dwellers on both sides of the Atlantic are dipping into the yummy hives of bees.

While Homesteaders on our own turf continue to battle it out over naming rights, urban nature dwellers in Britain are taking “local” and “self-sufficiency” to new heights: their rooftops. It’s a trend that’s migrating stateside, but remember you heard it here first. We’re calling it Chim Chimney Beekeeping®.

As a thank you for reading us each day, you’re free to dump the ®.

Here’s how it all started.

In 2008, the British Beekeepers Association reported that the UK bee population had plummeted by as much as a third, citing causes like parasites, insecticides, loss of flowering plants and pollution. In the United States, meanwhile, we’ve been scratching our heads at the mysterious disappearance of bees as well, a condition that we’ve dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder.

It’s a very serious problem worldwide as bees are responsible for pollinating about a third of the world’s food supply. Unless we want to subsist on wind-pollinated foods like wheat, rice, oats and acorns, we need them in our backyards.

The English, renowned for their stiff upper lips, best foot forward, and superlative gardens, have responded by cultivating thriving Chim Chimney Beekeeping communities. UK-wide, there’s an estimated 274,000 bee colonies that produce more than 6000 tons of honey each year with some 44,000 beekeepers managing them; the biggest buzz, though, is happening in London.

According to the British Beekeepers Association, the number of registered Chim Chimney Beekeepers in central London has more than doubled within the past couple of years. There are over 2,500 hives and more than 700 beekeepers. The posh are in on it (the queen’s bees are kept at Buckingham Palace) as well as the middle class, who keep bees in allotments and on rooftops. The enthusiasm for London beekeeping and the resulting honey (considered to be among the best in the world) has prompted annual festivals, international beehive design competitions, eco products, and amendments to the school curriculum.

The Chim Chimney swarm has become so avid that last year the North London Beekeepers Association had to start turning away members. The Guardian calls it the latest environmental movement; we’re calling it the new chicken coop.

Stateside, a city ordinance banning Chim Chimney Beekeeping in New York was overturned last year. Now more than 100 people are keeping hives of their own. Queens, in particular, has become the city’s honey haven having hosted the first ever inter-borough honey festival in the Rockaways last month.

Hoteliers in Boston have also taken it up. The InterContinental Boston houses about 120,000 honeybees on their rooftop apiary. And in Chicago, there are about 4,000 registered beekeepers.

From our vantage, the Chim Chimney trend is one to watch. It’s beneficial to urban dwellers as it’s a kind of Zen and the Art of Beekeeping pursuit. More importantly, it’s good for the bees. City pollinators fare better than rural ones because of the increased range of forage and relative lack of pesticides. It just might be the solution to our global bee conundrum.

[click here to read the original article by K. Emily Bond on ecosalon.com]

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Thank you Alex Monroe for your generous donation to our silent auction!  The Honeybee and Sapphire Necklace is stunning and we are beyond excited to feature it at our Yellow Tie Event!! 

Click here to view more details about the necklace!!

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HoneyLove @ the Mar Vista Fall Festival yesterday! 
[click here to view more photos!

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Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl addressing the crowd last Saturday at HoneyLove’s National Honey Bee Awareness Day Event!!

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EVERYONE GET EXCITED – SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL HONEYBEE AWARENESS MONTH!!! 

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Water Meter Bees

Today Chelsea and I rescued a hive from a water meter in Chase Park in Marina Del Rey with fellow Backward Beekeeper Susan. Susan is a violinist in the Marina Del Rey Orchestra and noticed the bees coming out of the meter after a rehearsal. She contacted the park administration and asked them if we could rescue the bees. They didn’t know about Susan’s bees, but they had planned to call vector control to have another 3 hives in the park exterminated (“foamed”). They were happy to let us rescue the bees.

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I thought it was going to be a fairly small hive because these water meters are checked every few months. Well, this one must have gone awhile because when I cracked the lid, I discovered at least a 6 month old hive. 

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We worked quickly to cut out the comb from the water meter, brush the bees into a nuc box and tie the comb into frames. 

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This was Susan’s first cut-out and she did a great job. Ken, our park supervisor, was intrigued with the whole process, paying careful attention to our every move. He even got his first ever bee sting and could have cared less. 

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None of us could believe how many bees came out of this little water meter. After we brushed the queen into one of the nucs, it was like a stampede to get in. The entrance hole soon clogged, forcing the bees to pack another four nucs to the gills. In the end, we rescued every single bee, saving these prolific little creatures from the foam. 

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Just made up a new case of RAW ORGANIC LOCAL HONEY from our honeybee rescues 
to give to our HoneyLove sponsors!

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WE JUST REACHED 700 ONLINE SIGNATURES!! Please help us to legalize beekeeping!!
http://www.change.org/petitions/help-legalize-beekeeping-in-mar-vista 
(you do not need to live in Los Angeles to sign – please pass it on!!)

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EXCITING NEWS:
Today we started setting up a “Bee Nirvana” next to this private bass pond!

The space was generously donated to us by Dr. Robert Cassar to create a
HoneyLove Sanctuary for the Rescued Honeybees of Los Angeles.

Thank you Jeremy for the introduction… and thank you Adam for your help!
….stay tuned for more details and photos!

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Live near Los Angeles?
Join HONEYLOVE on MEETUP.COM to hear about our upcoming events!
http://www.meetup.com/HoneyLove/

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