A lot of people don't know that 15-30% of human food is pollinated by bees.* With Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) wiping out nearly 50% of bees in the past 50 years, many small farmers are experiencing vastly smaller harvests because there aren't enough bees to go pollinate their crops. Mites and the wide use of pesticides are primarily to blame for CCD. The simple fact it that we need honeybees and, now, they need our help more than ever. As a result, urban beekeeping has seen a recent surge in interest.
Bowing to pressure from the city's beekeepers, New York's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently removed honeybees from the Health Code's register of "venomous insects" and other prohibited animals. Registration for the New York City Beekeepers Association classes have seen an noticeable increase since the ruling.
Not to overlook the sweetest benefit of keeping bees: honey. Local honey means lower transportation costs and pollution, minimal processing and the ability to use and reuse simple mason jars or other recycled containers. There is also anecdotal evidence that consuming local honey can reduce reactions to local allergens.
- Urban Beekeeping: 5 Questions for Beginners
- Why I Decided to Keep Honeybees
- The Backwards Beekeepers
- The Garden Hive
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* According to National Geographic
(Image: Flickr member Cygus921 licensed for use under Creative Commons)