– Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
– Amid bee die-off, healthy hives thrive in cities (AP, July 29, 2011):
CHICAGO (AP) — Among the wildflowers and native grasses in the garden atop Chicago’s City Hall stand two beehives where more than 100,000 bees come and go in patterns more graceful, but just as busy, as the traffic on the street 11 stories below.
The bees are storing honey that will sustain them through the bitter winter and be sold in a gift shop just blocks away.
“Already this season, one hive has produced 200 pounds of surplus honey, which is really a huge amount of honey,” said beekeeper Michael Thompson after checking the hives one July morning. “The state average is 40 pounds of surplus honey per hive.”
The Chicago bees’ success could be due to the city’s abundant and mostly pesticide-free flowers. Many bee experts believe city bees have a leg up on country bees these days because of a longer nectar flow, with people planting flowers that bloom from spring to fall, and organic gardening practices. Not to mention the urban residents who are building hives at a brisk pace.
Beekeeping is thriving in cities across the nation, driven by young hobbyists and green entrepreneurs. Honey from city hives makes its way into swanky restaurant kitchens and behind the bar, where it’s mixed into cocktails or stars as an ingredient in honey wine.
Membership in beekeeping clubs is skewing younger and growing. The White House garden has beehives. The city of Chicago’s hives — nine in all, on rooftops and other government property — are just part of the boom.
“I’ve seen hives set up on balconies and in very, very small backyards,” said Russell Bates, a TV commercial director and co-founder of Backwards Beekeepers, a 3-year-old group that draws up to 100 mostly newcomers to its monthly meetings in Los Angeles.
The group is “backwards” because its members rely on natural, non-chemical beekeeping practices. All their hives are populated by local bees they’ve captured — or “rescued” as the group’s members like to say — from places they’re not wanted.
Read moreHealthy Beehives Thrive In Cities