Rooftop Bees in Brooklyn
Yeshwant writes: "Several years ago, I saw a hive at a community garden in midtown Manhattan. I sat mesmerized seeing the bees enter and leave the hive one after the other in an endless stream. A hive, for me, was a force of flying insects that would bring me free produce: one of the very few ways I could be a farmer in this city. There was also an urban farm in Red Hook, Brooklyn where I lived, that I hoped my bees would help pollinate.
"Last winter, I joined the New York City Beekeeping Meetup Group and took the beekeeping classes they ran jointly with the Gotham City Honey Co-op. In the spring, I started with one hive on the roof of my row house. (The 'meadow' you see in some of the photos is the sedums and wild grasses growing on my home-made green roof.) In July, someone gave me a swarm they had caught, so now I have two colonies. This year was really rough for the bees because of all the rain in New York, but we're catching up in the fall."
A Combined Hive in Denver for a New Marriage
Kathleen writes: "We started recently backyard beekeeping in Denver Colorado. My interest in beekeeping started several years ago while helping a friend with her honey harvest out in Strasburg Colorado. After setting up our two hives in late May, we waited for swarm calls. The first came from Greenwood Mountain and the swarm was miniscule but we were thrilled. We collected the swarm by hand, which took quite a long time, but we were excited and awed by the process. Our second swarm came to us boxed and I made many newbie mistakes while introducing them to the hive, but somehow they ended up claiming it as home. Towards the end of summer, we did a hive combine. Although we werent able to gather any honey this season, we hope that our hive combine was successful enough for the bees to survive through winter for "robbing" next season!
"Dallas and I recently married and we included our hives in the half-moon cake topper I compiled from photographs of us and our 'menagerie.'"
Full Frontal Illegal Bees in Denver
I am an illegal urban beekeeper. In my small Midwest town bees are classified as "pests." Pest indeed! In the first 16 years I lived in my house I never saw a honeybee. As a way to honor and remember my late father who kept 10 hives I decided to get a hive to release some swarms back into the wild.
I live toward the end of a tree-lined dead end street, surrounded by neighbors who don't use chemicals and are understanding about my mission. I live about a block from a clover- and flower-filled park with many dead and hollow trees ideal for a beehive....
It has been a good 16 months. When I take my grandson for a walk and see a golden bee (which happens with increasingly more frequency) I feel pretty good that at least one of my swarms is doing well.
Finally this summer I saw a bee I had never seen before. Research has led me to conclude it is a leaf cutter bee. I take this as a sign that, at least in my micro-ecosystem, things may be improving. I hope to send off many more swarms and get a bit more honey before the local authorities catch me and slap me in leg irons. The Obamas can keep bees but not me?