July 07, 2007

This is an interesting article from Salon, which has run a few on bees and beekeeping lately.

Hives among us | Salon Life

""Beekeeping is a completely sensuous experience," says Roger Repohl, a beekeeper at the Genesis Community Garden behind St. Augustine's Catholic Church in the South Bronx, in New York. "You touch and taste the honey, listen to the bees hum, smell the smoke." Clad in his "vestments" -- a white beekeeper suit, veiled hat, thick canvas gloves -- he squeezes a "smoker," a bellows attached to a can that he's filled with pine needles and lighted with a match. The smoke warns the bees that the keeper is approaching to inspect the hive, but the aroma evokes Christmas. "I use pine needles," he says, "because they smell good and you might as well be an aesthete about the experience.'"

And perhaps the most interesting part is the large number of urban beekeeper hobbyists in the US, many of whom do it below the radar.

"There are 513 beekeeping associations across the United States, according to Bee Culture magazine. Of its 12,000 readers, Flottum says, "Fifteen percent live in cities with more than 100,000 people." However, trying to put a number on how many hobbyist beekeepers there are "is like asking how many people garden," he laughs. "From our surveys, we estimate about 75,000.'"

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