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Urban Delicious
Urban Delicious

Why we love urban beekeeping

Richard and I began urban beekeeping about six years ago, as a hobby. We went on a beekeeping course, bought a hive and placed it in the space that was available to us: our parents’/in-laws’ garden in Claremont. It was only once we got into it that we discovered how many people are keeping bees in (sub)urban backyards and rooftops around the world. Start reading up on urban beekeeping and you come across some great stories. One of the most expensive honeys in the world comes from hives on top of Paris’s Grand Opera House. A 125g jar will cost you around R250! The Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York serves its own ‘rooftop grown’ honey in cocktails.

There is quite a bit of talk about bees doing relatively well in cities – something that has attracted interest with bee health being an issue of increasing global concern. The urban environment gives bees access to a variety of flowers, as opposed to a single type of crop, and a varied diet has been linked to a stronger immune system. In cities, bees are generally less likely to be exposed to agricultural pesticides. This is good news for the bees, but also for us it seems: Lab tests done in Paris showed that the urban honey there is cleaner than honey from rural areas. Urban beekeeping is by nature relatively small scale and hives usually stay in one place (rather than being moved around), which means less disruption for the bees. And then there is of course the opportunity that urban beekeeping gives us to learn about bees and honey. When you see how much time and bee-effort goes into making a spoonful of honey, and you get to eat it fresh out of the comb, it takes the honey tasting experience to a whole new level. And all that is why we love urban beekeeping…

(Photo Credit: Matthew Ibbotson/Crush!)