The Buzz About Backyard Bees by ProQuest


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									                                                                                    The Buzz
You can’t get honey that’s more local
than from your own city backyard!                                                   Bees
T  here’s a buzz in the air these days…and it’s being caused by
   the growing number of bees living in cities. Since the myste-
rious collapse of bee colonies a few years ago, an army of urban
                                                                    involvement can be as limited as you wish, since bees are pretty
                                                                    self-sufficient creatures. Then, once a year, you’ll have to get in-
                                                                    volved with the honey harvesting process, which is time con-
beekeepers are striving to rescue the population, one bee at a      suming and messy. That involves removing the bees from the
time, because they’re worried about the environmental impact        hive, removing the honey-holding wax from the frames, extract-
of fewer pollinators. Some people have blamed the colony col-       ing the honey from the wax and jarring the honey.
lapse disorder phenomenon on the large, commercial
beekeeping operations with their overworked colonies and use        The Challenges
of pesticides. Others focus on mites and diseases that the chemi-       However, there are challenges. In the city, these include jit-
cals are supposed to conquer, in the same way that factory hog      tery neighbors, vandals and by-laws banning the activity. Out-
or cattle farms are susceptible to diseases. Other urban            right bans seem to be rarer than those banning livestock such as
beekeepers value the one hundred or so pounds of honey a hive       chickens, but some places have put practical constraints on
can produce in a good year and cultivate bees in the same way       beekeeping, such as limiting the number of hives, regulating the
they’d grow organic veggies and fruit.                              distance from property line and requiring that the beekeeper
    Beekeeping is a relatively inexpensive hobby and is more        provide water for the bees (which you should do anyway, since
common in the city than you might think. It takes up very little    they’re thirsty critters). And then there are mites and parasites,
space, with stackable hives that are about one foot square. Ur-     which can be a problem no matter where your colony is located.
ban beekeepers typically keep their hives in their backyards, but       Neighbors’ fears can be the biggest obstacle for urban
some are kept on city roof-tops, such as the roof of downtown       beekeepers to overcome. Many people think that bees are vi-
Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Bees can travel several        cious and just hang around waiting to sting people, so they
miles to collect nectar and pollen, so they do not need flowering   worry about the safety of their children. A little education can
plants close by.As long as you practice good hive hygiene, your     help in this regard, since honeybees are vegetarian – unlike
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wasps, which are meat eaters – and prefer nectar from flowers to                       Honey for Health
human blood. Bees only sting when they sense that their hive or
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