Why Bees?

Back lit bee frame  20120920_151307  IMG_9534

Why do urban beekeeping?  To help protect local bee populations against major threats; and to raise awareness of these two killers in particular:

The parasite Varroa Destructor is a flea-sized mite which attaches to bees, weakens them, and spreads a virus that can kill whole colonies. Varroa has devastated European honeybee populations in every country where it’s been introduced. An ecological solution is yet to be found, despite some countries having the mites present in beehives for over a decade.

A phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder is the second culprit. Its causes are still being debated today – pesticides, pathogens, environmental stresses have all been cited. Whatever the cause, it has resulted in worker bees mysteriously dying out, to a point where commercial hive numbers are dwindling, and wild European honeybees have all but disappeared. This is disturbing news for the natural pollination of crops; in fact, agriculturally, economically and ecologically — it’s catastrophic.

Australia – so far, so good
Australia is in the lucky position of being the last continent free of these destroyers. (Even New Zealand has Varroa.)

The Urban Beehive wants to put beehives all over Sydney – to boost natural pollination and to help maintain the genetic diversity of our honeybees before it’s too late.

We do this by capturing feral bee swarms to populate our beehives (where possible), rather than purchasing packaged bees or queen bees from breeders. In this way we help protect the wild bee genetic lines which need strengthening in case one day the worst happens and Varroa or some other pest infiltrates our borders. We’re also offering the community a service: re-housing honeybees which otherwise might be destroyed.