Saturday, November 12, 2011

Honey Bees at the White House

The White House bee hive.
Urban beekeeping has become fashionable in recent times with most North American cities having legalized the activity, including New York City in 2010.  In 2009 the White House carpenter, a hobby beekeeper, on Michelle Obama's request brought a spare hive to the White house grounds.  Located on the South Lawn near the first ladies' vegetable garden the hive produced a record 225 pounds of honey this year.  Most people are surprised to learn that urban bee colonies near water with a wide variety of landscape plantings generally produce much more honey than rural bees.  Testing the White House honey revealed the primary pollen source to be clover with the secondary sources being dogwood, cherry, crepe myrtle, elm, magnolia, honey suckle and poison ivy (ouch).

In the spring of 2010 two hives were installed on the roof of Vancouver City Hall.  On the green roof of Vancouver's Fairmont Waterfront Hotel there is a herb garden and 5 bee hives which brought in over 600 pounds of honey this year. Vancouver's new convention center has a 6 acre green roof which is also home to a bee hive.  While the future of urban beekeeping has never looked so good there are still a few unfortunate beekeepers like Bethel of Port Washington, Wisconsin struggling against city officials to keep bees (
Vancouver's Fairmont Hotel bee hives. 

Hives on the roof of Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel.


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