Photo: Shelley Fank
This fall marks the first full year of legal honey harvesting in New York City — and oh how sweet it is.
In March of last year, the New York City Board of Health and Mental Hygiene took Apis mellifera, the common honeybee, off their list of insects and animals considered too dangerous for city life. As a result, beekeepers registered a record number of hives with the board in 2011. So many, in fact, that local suppliers were unable to meet the unprecedented demand for starter colonies.
Meanwhile, NYC’s hard core “beeks” have come out of the closet. Even before legalization, hundreds of outlaws tended hives in the city. Old-timers love to wax nostalgic about illegal hives on the roofs of synagogues, co-ops, and private homes, where hives were disguised as air conditioning units. Tiny New York apartments were home to cabinet-like hives hooked up to plastic tubes to let the bees out through the window to forage for sustenance.
Beekeeping novices and old-schoolers alike came together last weekend to swarm the Rockaway Beach boardwalk in Queens for the First Annual NYC Honey Festival. Organized by the one-ac... Read more