Fascinating Urban Beekeeping!
When you talk about beekeeping, images of flower fields and beekeepers in large protective suits often come to mind. While this image is not wrong, we hope to introduce you to the idea of urban beekeeping that goes against the unconventional idea of honey production. Learn more in this article!
What Is Urban Beekeeping?
Urban beekeeping is simply the practice of keeping bees in an urban environment. Typically, bees are kept in a town or city, without access to a large plot of land. This completely goes against some of the misconceptions and assumptions of beekeeping. Many people keep hives in many different urban spaces, such as green roofs, community gardens and even backyards.
There are many reasons why people wish to keep bees in urban spaces. One reason is to avoid the ‘fake’ honey that is so often found on the shelves. Learn more about the different types of honey here. Instead, having a honeycomb allows one to have artisanal honey without any of the fake stuff!
Challenges To Urban Beekeeping
An obvious challenge is where to locate beehives. In a tight, urban space, it is hard to attain the idyllic image of a beehive in an open expanse of a field with many flowers. In urban spaces, this is not the case. Yet, rooftops and tiny yards in the city still serve as wonderful spaces for urban hives.
#2 Access To Flowers
As an urban beekeeper, you might be concerned about where the bees could obtain the nectar they need to survive. However, if you look a little harder, you might be surprised to find that there are more flowers in urban spaces than you might have imagined. Bees have an amazing ability to discover flowers and obtain nectar from a radius of 5 miles or more around the hive. A hive is likely located within 5 miles of many different types of flowers.
#3 Nosy Neighbours
Urban beekeeping may be a challenge, especially if your neighbours are afraid of the stingers that bees possess. However, educating others about the importance of bees can change one’s impression of bees.
Protecting Bees In Urban Spaces
Oftentimes, seeing bees in public spaces can be considered a nuisance. Some worry that bees could harm them. However, bees in green spaces are typically harmless unless provoked. Government bodies, in the interest of safety, may end up destroying hives and killing the bees. However, bees can be removed and relocated, housed in urban beekeeping spaces. This gives the harmless bees a second chance, and they get to continue to serve as pollinators in our urban green spaces. A win-win for both the bees and us!
Urban Beekeeping In Singapore
You may be surprised to learn that Singapore has numerous beekeeping farms. Yes, even in our urban jungle!
Xavier Tan of Nutrinest is a self-taught beekeeper who conducts bee rescue operations in Singapore. He rehomes bees to the three bee gardens he manages, including The Ashram, a halfway house in Sembawang, Temasek Shophouse in Orchard, and Jurong. They even conduct bee garden tours, bee education events and honey appreciation workshops.
#2 Bee Amazed Garden
Ex-primary school vice-principal John Chong decided to open BEE aMAZEd Garden, a bee education centre at Kampung Kampus, located in Yishun. This humble facility has a garden for bees, a bee observation gallery, educational aids and an area for classes and workshops. For those keen on observing bees in Singapore, this is a good place to do so.
BEE aMAZEd Gardens offers several education programmes including garden tours, bee education classes, and even basic beekeeping. In addition, the education centre also provides organisations with a CSR opportunity to adopt a hive.
#3 The Sundowner
The Sundowner is an urban farm and lounge located in Siglap. Besides being huge advocates of the local bee rescue scene, they also aim to educate the general public about the importance of bees and how to live in peace with them. They regularly host Rooftop Farm Experiences, where guests can learn about the fundamentals of organic farming, don a bee suit and interact with some bees and sample some of the honey they’ve made.
Try Some Honey Today!
This article has introduced you to the concept of urban beekeeping, as well as some of the associated challenges. However, despite the challenges, Singapore’s urban beekeepers have managed to not only care for the bees but also educate the general public on the importance of bees in our urban green spaces. If you are interested in getting some of the wonderful produce that bees produce, check out the links below.