Friday, April 16, 2010

Urban beekeeping - from lawbreaking to pioneering self reliance

Earlier this month, New York City finally reversed its ban on honeybees. Until now, honeybees have been classified as dangerous animal and banned from the city. Of course, there have always been people who defied this silly rule and kept bees in defiance of edict. Honeybees have been diligently pollinating plants and provided honey for people in the Big Apple since colonial days and they are still there today. But these pirate beekeepers were honestly in the same category as loonies who keep cobras in their bedrooms. Fines and search and destroy missions were commonly invoked when a neighbor called to report one of the numerous secret bee keeping operations.

All kinds of tricks were used to disguise the hives such as painting them with urban camouflage. One truly intrepid beekeeper painted his hives to look like air conditioning units. He would move them around the city, moving from rooftop to rooftop “pasture” so his bees could collect pollen from all over the city. He even had a fake worker’s jumper made up carrying the logo of a fake A/C company so no one would question him as he scurried onto rooftops.

Finally in a great blow for environmental logic, self reliance and urban homesteading, the city of New York has made it legal to keep hives. As of April 2010, the beekeepers of New York can come out of the closet and openly carry out their hobbies and livelihoods. It is late in coming, but this will set a good precedent for other cities.  It will make it easier for the rising tide of small homesteading and backyard gardeners trying to find some self reliance in a world of over-priced, over-packaged, over-transported, over-treated foods. Honey from central park is a great step up from some watered down, adulterated goo shipped across the pacific in filthy container ships.

Living simple is a great goal and as more of us demand the right to pursue it, it gets easier and easier to achieve. A small bee hive is no great risk or effort and its rewards would be great. I applaud the city of New York and its pioneering urban beekeepers. In my goal to make Shadows End as self sufficient as possible I am trying to find room for a hive in my limited space.  Hard to do on on 1/12 of an acre.  However, one day, I hope to hear the buzz of my very own bees as I prune in the backyard garden.


  1. I'm glad to hear its legal now, what with all the huge hive die offs I'd think it'd be in our best interest to keep as many as we can in as diverse situations as possible. I'll admit an interest in beekeeping sprung up as I read this, considering I do not fear them, and Sherlock Holmes kept bees after he retired, LOL. I think bees would be awesome at Shadows End. ^^

  2. I am actively pursuing getting a hive -- not sure if they would like the shady spot I have picked out for them tho


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