Hurricane Sandy has devastated a large number of people by the destruction of property and most importantly loss of life. Bees and beekeepers are not immune from the suffering. Many beekeepers have lost their hives to the hurricane including those from the Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard urban farming project (Brooklyn Grange) that lost 25 hives situated near the water. Chase Emmons, a managing partner and the chief beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange said “All our hives that were out on the pier were destroyed. An additional 10 hives located on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm survived — but the loss is catastrophic for the city’s largest apiary. Emmons knew before the storm that the hives were at risk. There was little we could do without a Herculean effort,” he said. What’s most heartbreaking, said Emmons, is that all of the lost hives were donated by a retired Pennsylvania beekeeper last year — so they housed extra-hearty bees with stellar genetics. “The biggest loss is to our selective breeding genetic program. Our plan is to end up with bees that are well suited to the New York environment,” said Emmons. “This puts us back at least a year.”
The loss of bees and hives is not comparable to those who have lost their property and more importantly their lives. However, when reassembling the hives the beekeepers were shocked to see surviving bees attempting to rebuild their colonies just as survivors of the Hurricane are now courageously rebuilding their lives. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all those effected by Hurricane Sandy.