I am taking a beekeeping course and my dad is a beekeeper so I have bees on the mind a lot lately, which has lead me to write this post.
A thought came to mind when I was thinking of all of the available space and resources that makes beekeeping so efficient and necessary in rural areas – but what about in the city? Do urban apiaries exist? And if so, what are some of the challenges that they face living in a concrete playground?
Rural apiaries are necessary in several cases in order to provide pollinating services for the success of countless crops including many fruits, vegetables, nuts and coffee to name a few. But without these bountifully available crops in the city, I wonder whether beekeeping is even a viable hobby in more densely populated areas?
Google was very helpful when I was on the hunt for some answers regarding urban apiaries! I was very surprised to discover that beekeeping in the city is relatively common and is continuing to grow in popularity! The city is actually being considered as an oasis for bees because the colonies are not experiencing stresses from being exposed to agricultural pesticides. An article I read talked about how hotels are actually creating apiaries on top of their buildings and using the honey they produce in their hotel and/or harvesting fruit and vegetables for their restaurants. Kind of great if you ask me!
Although urban beekeeping has its benefits there are also some disadvantages. Multiple stresses can threaten urban hives including a lack of foraging and food resources for bees as well as legislation such as the Ontario Bees Act, which legally restricts beehives to be within 30 meters of a residence. What it comes down to is that people don’t want hundreds of thousands of bees buzzing around their homes (especially if they have children or allergies). Another challenge with this newly growing trend includes overcrowding apiaries, swarms of bees leaving their initial area and feral colonies setting up homes in places where they are not wanted and therefore need to be removed (they are wild after all!).
There seems to be a lot of negative impacts that may indicate that urban apiaries are not a viable option, but I think that if they are appropriately executed that it is a great thing for cities to pursue. Not only does it promote the improvement of declining bee populations by expanding the number of apiaries that exist but it can provide great pollinating services to businesses looking to provide locally sourced food.
Urban beekeeping can provide a taste of rural living, even if it is on the top of a high-rise building. Hopefully this trend will continue to grow!
More on urban beekeeping:
10 Urban Beekeeping Tips if you’re interested.
8 More Urban Beekeeping Tips – this article was so awesome!