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The Green Life: Cities Abuzz With Bees

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January 29, 2009

Cities Abuzz With Bees

BumblebeeA bus screeches to a stop. A car alarm goes off. Drivers exchange honks. These sounds dominate many of America's cityscapes. And yet, a growing number of cities are abuzz with another noise: that of the bumblebee. An increased interest in urban gardening, coupled with growing concern over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has led city dwellers across the U.S. to welcome native pollinators and honeybees into the metropolitan landscape.

Illinois: There are two beehives on Chicago's City Hall and four on the roof of the Chicago Cultural Center.

California: Membership in the San Francisco Beekeepers' Association has more than doubled over the last four years. Last July, the Pollinator Project donated pollinator-friendly plants to the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden.

North Carolina: Last year, the Buncombe County Chapter of the North Carolina Beekeepers' Association had to put more than 100 people who applied for its beekeeping school on a waiting list.

Colorado: In November, Denver's City Council voted 10-2 in favor of an ordinance change allowing urban residents to keep bees.

New York: Beekeeping is currently illegal in NYC but the nonprofit Just Food is circulating a petition proposing that the Department of Health lift its ban. More than 200 species of bees live in New York City and more than 400 live in the state.

--Melissa Weiss

What's buzzing in your 'hood? In the space for comments below, please tell us about urban beekeeping projects in your city.

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