- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you've ever strolled the streets of New York, you probably noticed a few honey bees here and there.
Not the HIVES (they're illegal), but the BEES.
Tomorrow, the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will vote on whether city residents can keep bees in the Big Apple.
The answer ought to be a resounding "yes."
We need bees in the Big Apple--and elsewhere throughout the country and the world.
A great article in Sunday's New York Times drew attention to the issue. The headline buzzed: "Bees in the City? New York May Let the Hives Come Out of Hiding."
Reporter Mireya Navarro put it succinctly: "New York City is among the few jurisdictions in the country that deem beekeeping illegal, lumping the honey bees together with hyenas, tarantulas, cobras, dingoes and other animals considered too dangerous or venomous for city life."
Fact is, aggressive pit pulls, notorious panhandlers (including the Wall Street bankers) and and sneaky pickpockets can thrive in the city, but not the three-quarter-inch-long insect that pollinates blossoms.
Currently if you have a hive in New York, you could be fined $2000.The good news is that there's a good chance the ban on beekeeping will end March 16 when the New York City Health Department votes whether to amend the health code to allow beekeeping.
We were glad to see Häagen-Dazs come out in support of overturning the New York City beekeeping ban. In a Feb. 24th news release, the ice cream brand officials pointed out that the honey bee crisis is threatening our food supply. "Not only is the honey bee endangered, so too are the caretakers of our petite pollinators," the news release noted. "Today the average age of a commercial beekeeper is 60 years old. Beekeeping is a dying art that needs to be sustained and supported."
And one way to do that is to encourage backyard or hobbyist beekeepers. We can also plant bee-friendly gardens, avoid insecticides, and spread the word about the importance of bees and other pollinators.
Häagen-Dazs helps support honey research at the University of California, Davis, and Pennsylvania State University. The brand also supports the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the quarter-acre Campus Buzzway at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.We suspect that if New York lifts the bee ban, we'll see scores of beekeepers coming out of the wordwork...er...their hives.
And from the rooftops.