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When NYC beekeepers were in their battle to legalize urban beekeeping – “JUST FOOD” put out this
BEEKEEPING FACT SHEET (Click here to download the full pdf)


The most common concern about honeybees is bee stings. Honeybees are not aggressive by nature and are unlikely to sting. Only 0.4% of Americans report an allergy to insect stings in the U.S., and almost none of these are caused by honeybees. In addition, less than 1% of the US population is at risk of systemic reaction to stings by honeybees. Severe reactions from the sting of any one insect in a year are 1 in 5,555,556. The chance that someone will be hit by a car is 59.3% higher.

The inclusion of honeybees as “wild animals” and “venomous insects” in the NYC Health Code is misdirected as they are not wild, and there are fundamental differences between honeybees, a member of the apid family, and other related insects, such as wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, part of the vespid family. Honeybees are vegetarians who only eat nectar, have been domesticated for millennia for their passivity, and is the only one of these insects which provides life-giving pollination.

Honeybees in Crisis
The survival of honeybees is currently at risk. In the winter 2006-2007, an average colony loss of 38% was reported by U.S. beekeepers. Many of these losses were linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has become such a serious issue that Senate passed the Pollinator Habitat Protection Act of 2007, which was co-sponsored by Senator Clinton and designates pollinator protection as a “national priority resource concern.” The Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 also stresses the important role that pollinators, especially honeybees, play in pollinating many important U.S. crops. New York City can be a part of the solution and encourage apiculture in order to mitigate the spread of CCD.

Chelsea McFarland

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