The story appears on

Page A9

August 6, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Buzz about bees: UK asks city-dwellers to help

WHAT'S the well-dressed urbanite wearing this summer? Baggy white coveralls and a beekeeping helmet.

That, at least, is the hope of a British government conservation agency, which is urging city-dwellers to become backyard beekeepers to combat the declining apian population.

Natural England yesterday gave its backing to a "new, contemporary beehive for the urban beekeeper" known as the "Beehaus," which it hopes will help convince urbanites that honeybees are hot.

"(The Beehaus is) a great example of how easy it is for anyone to bring the natural world closer to their doorstep," Natural England chief scientist Tom Tew said. "There's no reason why our towns and cities should exist as wildlife deserts."

Britain has 250 bee species, but - as elsewhere - most are in decline. Scientists say pesticides, disappearing habitat, wet weather and a parasite called the varroa mite are among the culprits.

The makers of the Beehaus - a brightly colored plastic box, roughly the size of a backyard barbecue - say it has twice the room of a traditional hive, is designed to reduce swarming and can yield up to 20 kilograms of honey in a year.

It sells for 495 pounds (US$840) - bees not included.

The company behind the Beehaus is Omlet, whose previous inventions include Eglu, an urban chicken coop that has brought poultry-keeping to backyards across Britain. Co-founder Johannes Paul said the Beehaus was designed to show that beekeeping is a "low-maintenance hobby."

Long-standing beekeepers welcome the new recruits, but worry some may not realize what they're getting into.

"Like puppies, bees are not just for Christmas," said Tim Lovett of the British Beekeepers' Association. "There is a certain commitment to this."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend