There’s an argument out there that bees are, in today’s world, better off in urban areas than they are in the countryside.
Supporters merely point to what Big Agriculture has done to the agricultural landscape:
— acres of just one or two crops (called monoculture) that don’t offer the bees very much
— pesticides and herbicides
One of the people who makes that argument is Bryon Waibel, who runs the Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper store in San Francisco — a store, he says, is the only urban beekeeping store in the world. A video of Waibel talking about his store, and a longer story about it, has been produced by Fair Companies and is shown below.)
“It would not surprise me at all if the future of beekeeping itself is in urban beekeeping,” Waibel said.
There is some logic to this argument, particularly when you think about how diverse urban and particularly suburban areas are in terms of flowers and other plants. There would be plenty for an enterprising bee to find in a well-kept neighborhood.
But there are problems as well, of course.
Pollution is the first thing that springs to mind.
Another problem is acceptance. Many people do not understand bees and think they should be subjected to a can of Raid just like other insects.
Still, Waibel’s point about urbanites is a good one. People in the city could get really interested in bees and become evangelists for them. A hive in a neighborhood might be just the tool to get people to see that having some bees around wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.
So, if bees are going to give up the country life and move to town, they have their work cut out for them. But, in the end, it might pay off for everyone.