Want to keep bees, but think you can't do so within city limits?
It is entirely practical to keep city bees. Like urban gardening, urban beekeeping helps the city dweller satisfy a vital need to reconnect with the natural world. Studies have repeatedly shown physical and mental benefits of reclaiming this connection.
Here in the Portland Metro area, there are hundreds of urban beekeepers. One only needs to do a bit of checking with their city or county for restrictions, and take a few precautions to safely keep your bees-- and your neighbors -- happy.
Tips for keeping your bees in urban areas:
1. Locate your bees where their flight paths are unlikely to cross sidewalks or paths your utility meter readers use. A tall fence or hedge makes an excellent barrier--once the bees fly up to that level, they usually won't come down in the immediate vicinity.
2. Make sure your bees are habituated to a water source within YOUR control. The biggest complaint urban beekeepers receive is that a neighbor's hot tub, decorative pond or pet water dishes are being raided by "your" bees. We recommend using an entrance feeder for water, with a pinch of sea salt in the mix. Second best, a shallow tray of gravel under a slowly dripping faucet.
Get your water source in place well before hot weather hits. Once bees have becomeaccustomed to visiting a water source, it's tough to get them to change their habits.
3. No, your hives don't have to be boring white! You can paint your hives to match the color of your own home, and make your hives part of your landscape architecture. We carry quaint and very functional ventilated English-style garden hive covers, which have become a huge hit for urban beekeepers...and a great device for convincing your better half to go along with your new hobby.
4. Have you learned that it's absolutely impossible to keep honey bees at your home? Consider Orchard Mason Bees.These solitary pollinators are low-maintenance, and are not known to sting.
Stay tuned for more information on urban beekeeping.