The Honey Bee makes the world go round – without them flora would die and all other life would quickly follow. And bees have done their job for a very long time.
For perspective Homo sapiens (probably you) reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago (according to Wiki). And that is just an average since many Homo sapiens remain noticeably un-evolved even to this day.
Bees on the other had are over 100 million years old. That is 2,000 times older than humans. If the bee life on this planet was shown as sixty minutes on a clock (3,600 seconds) then human existence would be shown as less than TWO SECONDS.
That is why for me Bees are exalted. I have a bee hive on my roof and I just let them bee, uh, I mean be. I haven’t removed any honey for years. They are my rooftop sentinels helping to keep the neighborhood more in harmony.
As a New York green builder I feel keeping bees is part of the matrix. Ecological native gardens, green roofs, living walls, ponds, natural swimming pools, gray water, composting, building with salvaged materials and bees – these are the things that make the world go ’round. They are all connected.
This brings me to the reason for this post. I think we can’t have too many bees in the world and the more people who keet them the better. It is not about the honey. We have too much sugar in our died and despite the amazing benefits of honey it is still sugar. It is about helping the keepers of life do their job. God knows we work against them in every other way, arrogant overcomsumers that Homo sapiens are.
So check it out. There are lots of beekeeping networks, some formal some not. For example you could take this cool course:
Here are some spring photos from the Eco Brooklyn Green Show House roof. It is two years old now. We don’t water it. We just let it do its own thing. The soil has thinned out and is only about 2.5″ thick. But we have bushes and plants along with a thick canopy of sedum. It is very pretty.
The bee hive is also buzzing. It is so productive that last season we left them the honey. We still have lots of honey from the year before!
When NYC legalized bees a little while ago the one stipulation they asked was that bee keepers register their bees. There is no way I’m doing that! I have 40,000 bees. Do you have any idea how long it would take me to register them?!
But I might register my hives. Or I might not 🙂
But if you are a Brooklyn bee keeper and want to be a good citizen here is how you register your hive:
NYC Health Code Article 161 (the recent health code change that has made beekeeping legal in NYC) requires persons keeping non-aggressive honeybees (Apis mellifera) to file a notice with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene containing the beekeeper’s contact information and hive location(s).
It’s important that we cooperate with these minimal reporting regulations in order to maintain the legal status of beekeeping in NYC and ensure that our beekeeping practices respect the rights and safety of others.
You are allowed to keep chickens and any sort of hoofed animal in Brooklyn or New York City. Hoofed, as in donkey, goat, sheep….and chickens. Not roosters, but if you want fresh eggs from your back yard or roof top chickens that is totally legal.
BUT you are not allowed to legally keep bees. Sure people do it and I don’t know of any beekeepers spending jail time for dealing in home made honey, but it is illegal. WTF?!