Monday, 10 August 2009

City Beekeeping & Artificial Grass

At the end of last summer we wrote about increasing concerns for the future of the honey bee around the world. We quoted examples from southern Germany (where a significant rise in honey bee deaths had been linked to pesticides resulting in the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection suspending the registration of 8 pesticide treatments) and the United States where an environmental group had filed a lawsuit against the Federal Environmental Protection Agency for withholding information about the risks to honey bees from pesticide treatments. Clearly, the argument for reducing use of pesticides has never been so strong and with high profile celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson taking to beekeeping, it can only stand to gain momentum.

Now comes the news that the British honey bee population is in serious decline with numbers falling by as much as 30%. See a special BBC News report. The upside to this disturbing news is the growing number of people in Britain who are interested in keeping bees and maintaining their own beehives. The majority live in the countryside which is logical but what about those living in towns and cities? Well, they too now have an option to help the plight of the honey bee. It's called the beehaus. A bright yellow plastic box about the size of an average barbecue set, it is designed to reduce swarming and, it's claimed, can yield up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of honey in a year. It doesn't take up much space and its inventors are keen to point this out saying it is ideal for use on balconies and rooftop gardens.

So for those Brits who live an urban lifestyle and don't have a garden, they can now take their balcony or rooftop and convert it into a honey-producing space and play their part in saving the British honeybee. Using artificial grass to make the area colourful and pleasant under foot is the ideal compliment to the venture - no mowing, no watering and, above all, no pesticides required!

Read our Rooftop Grass Growing Fast post.

For more information on beekeeping go to the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) website.