Did you know there are guerilla beekeepers in your midst? I am just learning some of their secrets. Those who want to keep bees in the city don’t want to bring attention to themselves or their bees. They don’t want to arouse fear and worry. So they paint their hives inconspicuous colors. And they might hide their hives, behind hedges or fences. And the roof-top beekeepers! They fasten their wooden hive boxes to a pallet so they can’t blow away. They climb ladders up to the roof to tend their bees. Some of them even bring satchels with bee suits, metal hive tools, smoker, and all the assorted paraphernalia they need, travelling on the bus or subway, to get to the buildings hiding bees way up high.
And do you know another subversive thing some of those urban beekeepers do? They seed bomb vacant lots! They take seeds of wild plants that bees and butterflies like, like purple Joe Pye Weed, or milkweed. Put the seeds in a ball of clay that will later dissolve in the rain. Stroll by the vacant lot, cast a quick glance around you, take aim over the fence and toss. Voila! Pollinator heaven behind the chain-link, at least until a construction crew moves in to dig a pit. Which might take years.
Here’s another secret- city honey is the best! Because it comes from such a rich variety of plants, some wild, some cultivated in city yards and gardens. But you will have a hard time finding city honey to buy. Urban beekeepers don’t have space for scores of hives, and most of the honey they harvest goes to their friends and neighbors. (At least the neighbors who are in on their secrets!)