Inspired | Bees in the City
Bees at the Opera - In Toronto...
Continuing with yesterday's urban beekeeping theme, today we're introducing you to two more beekeepers in urban centers. In many cities the topic of keeping bees can be a little controversial. Many beekeepers nourish hives despite legal barriers - in Toronto, a bylaw stating that there must be 30 meters between honeybees and neighbouring properties has largely rendered backyard beekeeping illegal, despite the work of organizations such as the Toronto District Beekeepers' Association which has been promoting the trade since 1911. The group works to educate about bees and their importance, bring beekeepers together, help newbies get started and work with the Ministry of Agriculture. But, the recent decline of bee populations (more on this topic tomorrow) has led to a renewal of purpose among beekeeper enthusiasts and a subsequent general increase of hives found in the city, both in parks and rooftops where they are both safe and in keeping with the 30 meter bylaw - in fact it is for this reason that hives are found on rooftops in many cities around the world. The hives found in these photos are housed on the roof of the Canadian Opera Company's Four Season Center and are tended by apiarist Fred Davis. He tends the bees weekly in summer, checking for larvae, disease, and harvesting honey when it's ready.
And in Paris!
These photos are of Jean Paucton who has been keeping bees on the roof of the Opera Garnier in Paris for 20 years. A prop man at the opera, Jean took apiary course at the Société Centrale for apiculture in the Luxembourg Gardens, which also happens to be one of the oldest apiaries in Paris. Jean, who has been profiled many times over the years and has even been called the world's most famous beekeeper, began much by chance when he was gifted a hive. A fireman and friend suggested the Opera roof where the bees would have plenty of nourishment from the hundreds of linden trees found at the nearby Palais Royal. Tourists and locals alike have fallen in love with the romance of bees at the opera - Jean himself feels that his work is important as “urban apiculture is a way of making people understand what is happening in the beekeeping world. When bees die out, the environment is really in danger.”
Jean harvests about 100 kilos per hive in Paris. His honey is among the most expensive in the world.
Here's an interesting thought: many have theorized that the decline of global hives is related to the use of pesticides. Andre Flys, a professional beekeeper and member of the Toronto Beekeepers Association, is interested to see how the growing number of urban beehives thrive over time as municipal pesticide bans have made cities the most pesticide-free zones in the province. “It’s ironic,” says Flys. “The bees in the city are probably healthier than the ones out on farms.” Hmmm.
Sources & Photo Credit:
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