Community Bee Keeping- Modeled After Community Gardens, Gaining in Popularity

The Associated Press reported today that, “Finding places for beekeeping can be a challenge for city dwellers. But apiaries modeled after community gardens have become a popular option.

“Community beekeeping operations usually consist of shared sites on public or private properties, organized by or for people trying to turn out fresh plants or products.

“Some, like the community apiary inside The Hudson Gardens & Event Center in Littleton, Colorado, also educate. Its objectives are to train, mentor and provide fellowship for hobbyist beekeepers, promote interest in beekeeping, and boost plant pollination in Hudson Gardens and around the neighborhood, said Amanda Accamando, the center’s education and volunteer manager.”

The AP article noted that, “Bee stings and liability are obvious concerns, and the public garden’s hobbyist beekeepers are required to follow city codes. Hives must be placed at least 25 feet from property lines, and bee flyways are directed away from private dwellings. No visitors are allowed to approach the hives without a beekeeper escort, and each guest must sign a waiver before entering the apiary.

Burgh Bees in Pittsburgh established the first urban community apiary in the United States.

“‘We realized more and more people in the city were interested in beekeeping,’ said Stephen Repasky, a master beekeeper and Burgh Bee president. ‘We wanted to help find places for them to do that so we adopted the community garden example.'”

Today’s article added that, “The beekeepers eventually found a vacant piece of land and signed a lease with the city for $1 a year to landscape and manage it.

“‘We went from having a gravel lot full of used needles and garbage to a fenced property with perennials and pollinators,’ Repasky said. ‘It’s going so well that we hope to open a second apiary sometime this summer.'”

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