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Urban beekeeping is the latest buzz

“…city dwellers across the country are rapidly discovering the appeal of urban beekeeping. Large cities like Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Dallas and San Francisco are even promoting beekeeping for pollination health, to keep city vegetation green and lush…

“There’s a fear factor that occurs around honeybees,” said Michael Thompson, who helped start the Chicago Honey Co-op in 2003. “People don’t understand just how gentle they really are…”

Beekeepers say any complaints they get are usually based on misconceptions about honeybees.

“In five years, we have had about two people come by and actually be angry about our hives,” Thompson said. “They thought yellow jacket wasps were honeybees.”

Even in New York City, longtime beekeeper Roger Repohl said prosecutions of beekeepers are rare and problems only arise when something bothersome happens, such as when someone topples a hive or the bees get into a building. Repohl said it’s more an issue of humans endangering bees, not the other way around.

Urban beekeepers say the few concerns are more than worth it. Many swear the honey is tastier, and they say cities are often a healthier environment for bees because there is less pesticide usage than in most farming areas.

Residents with gardens typically welcome bees, and many beekeepers say they’ve found their neighbors are very interested in their bees.

“They’re sort of like fish but better. Watching them calms you,” said Rob Hicks, who keeps four hives in Chicago. “It’s a fun way to spend time, and I think it might even have some effect on blood pressure,” he joked.

There’s also the honey. Hicks said that like many beekeepers, he’s usually able to sweet-talk neighbors into acceptance by keeping them well-supplied with honey…”

Click here to read the full article by JESSICA M. PASKO
Associated Press Writer – Seattle Times
Photo by Bob Redmond

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