The Buzz on Beekeeping

Breaking news: Beekeeping is the new black.


This week’s New York magazine devotes a two-page spread to the city’s latest locavore hipster hobby, beekeeping. (Or as they put it: “the DIY, back-to-the-land fetish of the hour.”) Rooftop farming – so early May.


Thanks to the folks at BeeKeeper HQ, trendsetters that they are, that bees are hot wasn’t news to me. I understood the mechanics of the hive from their video, and since being identified by the quiz as a Honey Collector, I’ve been trying to trade my blades of grass for “some sweet results.”


But in the spirit of cross-platforms and cross-pollination, here are some interesting tidbits about the relationship between keeper and bee I learned from the magazine’s profiles of several members of NYC’s beekeeping community (no, not an oxymoron). Overall, the beekeepers described a relationship of mutual respect. Beekeepers need to understand the individual strengths of each hive to 1) achieve maximum honey production and 2) not get stung too often. As one local beekeeper, a 23-year old college student put it: “There are times when you feel like your whole weekend is dominated by honeybees. But I can’t help it. I’m fascinated by their ability.”


1) “Each hive has its own thing. Some are super-aggressive, some are mellow, some are noisy. Yet inside they’re all individuals.” – Deborah Greig, 28, Urban Agriculture Coordinator


2)“You will get stung, and you have to be okay with it. - Meg Paska, 29, Urban Farmer


3) “Italian bees are like Italian people: They breed a lot. The colonies build up quickly and they have a lot of babies. Russian bees are more aggressive than the Italians and they winter better.” – Andrew Coté, 39, Head of New York City Beekeepers Association


4) “Choose your hive site wisely.” (From “Think of Them as Your New Pets and Other Tips for Bee Companions.”)


5) “Swarms freak people out.” – Anna Thea Bridge, 35, Securities Litigator, Sunnyside


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