Beekeeping has been an important and celebrated activity for longer than you’d think. But what is urban beekeeping? To keep it simple, urban beekeeping is beekeeping that is done in urban areas, as opposed to rural areas. The bees used may range from honeybees to mason bees or even leafcutter bees. Most beekeepers will use honeybees, utilizing a practice that dates back over 9,000 years. That’s a lot of years to get it right, and a lot of years to examine the benefits. So, what are the benefits of beekeeping in urban areas? Buzz around and read more about this fascinating practice.
A Short History
Before discussing the benefits of beekeeping in urban areas, it’s worthwhile to go over a bit of the history first. While humans have been collecting honey since people dwelled in caves, modern-day urban beekeeping started in the 1980s. Paris, France became the birthplace of urban beekeeping when experimental hives on the roof of the Opera Granier were astonishingly successful. This started a wave of urban beekeeping in France, which now has over 3,000 hives in the metropolitan Paris area alone.
However, in the U.S., urban beekeeping didn’t catch on so easily and was at first hampered by legislation that disallowed farm animals from being raised in cities. This legislation extended to the bees, which were considered a farm animals, despite naturally being seen in cities too. It was thanks to the efforts of bee activists that many U.S cities began to legalize urban beekeeping, with New York City legalizing the practice in 2010, Boston following in 2013, and Los Angeles in 2015. Over the past thirty years, concerns for the ecosystem and bees have spawned a new generation of beekeepers, some of which are using the flourishing diversity that cities provide to create urban hives that just may help save the world.
The Many Benefits Of Urban Beekeeping
Urban beekeeping is an important practice that offers plenty of benefits. While the practice of urban beekeeping remains relatively the same as rural beekeeping, the benefits are outstanding. You’ll still need your usual equipment, such as quality bee suits and hive boxes to unlock the amazing benefits of keeping bees in urban areas, and there are many, such as:
Provides Data on Pollinator Health
Honeybees happen to be an excellent source of data on things like the health of pollinators and the environment. By keeping bees in urban areas, we can more easily monitor initiatives and their results. By doing so, we can see which works best, providing critical data that scientists, beekeepers, and others may use to help boost bee populations and even help save the environment. These hives also help protect bees from other pests and predators found in the environment, boosting populations.
Helps Connect Community to Nature
While finding ways to go green is a great way to start connecting with and helping the environment, getting out and into nature is another amazing step that most should take. Urban beekeepers are helping connect communities to nature by providing constant reminders of the nature around them. These hives help connect cities to nature even just by sight, but they also provide a great source of education too, helping your community appreciate the bees, and the nature they serve just a little bit more.
Helps Pollinate Local Agriculture
Honeybees are a critical part of our ecosystem and our food system, as they help pollinate over 85 different crops. Urban beekeeping helps boost and pollinate local agriculture and greenery. By having honeybees help take on some of the heavy lifting, not only are urban areas provided with a local source of fresh honey but the greenery and agriculture systems nearby are also going to benefit. This helps a community and its food system flourish, which has the potential to lead to an abundance: Extra food and extra beauty in communities that need them most!
The Place to Bee
Beekeeping in urban areas can provide a much-needed boost to any city and the ecosystem it supports. Bees are nature’s greatest helper, and they’re in trouble. Urban beekeeping has the ability to help boost the numbers of these life-saving friends, while also allowing the city to reap the benefits. Of course, this is true only when done correctly. Urban beekeeping is best suited for those familiar with the practice. Stray hives should be reported so they may be relocated elsewhere safely.
Beekeeping in urban areas not only provides a great source of learning opportunities but also allows the natural ecosystem and food system to get some much-needed help. The natural diversity of an urban habitat proves to be the perfect place to “bee” for beekeeping, providing countless benefits that we’re sure to see for many years to come.