Be a bee fan: New York agrees to beekeepers
New York has recently joined municipalities like Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee and made beekeeping legal. Residents are now allowed to keep and breed the Apis mellifera, the common, nonaggressive honeybee. Earlier anyone keeping these winged creatures could be fined nearly $2,000 for breaking the law.
Cities like Santa Monica in California are now considering their laws regarding this activity as well. Even the White House has installed some hives. Bee keeping societies and established Bee Keepers clubs are showing increases in memberships with new societies emerging. Organizations like the New York Bee Keepers Associations welcomed the news.
For many New Yorkers beekeeping isn't just the latest fad or hobby. Keeping bees is therapeutic and it's as good as any other pet like dogs or fish, agree residents. Earlier bees were prohibited as wild animals. Many were secret keepers always in the danger of being reported. For them it's a relief to know they are no longer on the wild side of the law.
For long, scientists have hailed the tiny bee as an important cog in the ecological system. They affect conservation of species either directly or indirectly. They are strong influencers of pollination and without them many plants and trees would simply die out. While the activity might have been made legal, cities impose conditions like permits, fees (usually annual in nature) and maintenance of safety regulations like minimum distances between nearby structures and hives.
Keepers must register with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and ensure that bee swarms can be controlled and that they don't interfere with neighbours.
While bee keeping doesn't take too much space (many are keeping hives on their rooftops and small garden spaces), the main motivations, say many, is the desire to produce organic food. Many learning about the importance of bees in nature and their alarming decline is incentive enough to help bees thrive. Four years ago colonies of honey bees were wiped out due to unknown reasons in the United States. While the primary reasons for the demise of colonies remain unknown, pesticides have been cited as a cause.