We started The Urban Beehive in 2010 to support the honeybees that do their critically important work in urban Sydney.
We put beehives in backyards, community gardens and on rooftops across the city; from Bondi to Marrickville - even the Botanic Gardens, the bees are enjoying
some great views! And our hives are happy and healthy.
But internationally, bees are in drastic decline, with whole populations being destroyed
overnight, as a result of introduced threats. Our ultimate goal in urban beekeeping is to help protect local bee
populations against these threats; and to raise awareness of two in particular:
The parasite Varroa Destructor (more info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor) is a flea-sized mite
which attaches to bees, weakens them, and spreads a virus that can kill whole colonies.
Varroa has devastated European honeybee populations in every country where it's been
introduced; an ecological solution is yet to be found, despite some countries having the
mites present in beehives for over a decade.
A phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (more info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder) is the second major killer. Its causes
are still being debated today - pesticides, pathogens, environmental stresses have all been
cited. Whatever the cause, it has resulted in worker bees mysteriously dying out, to a
point where commercial hive numbers are dwindling, and wild European honeybees have
all but disappeared. This is disturbing news for the natural pollination of crops; in fact,
agriculturally, economically and ecologically -- it's catastrophic.
Australia - so far, so good
Australia is in the lucky position of being the last continent free of these destroyers. (Even
New Zealand has Varroa.)
The Urban Beehive wants to put beehives all over Sydney - to boost natural pollination and
to help maintain the genetic diversity of our honeybees before it's too late.
We do this by capturing feral bee swarms to populate our beehives (where possible), rather
than purchasing packaged bees or queen bees from breeders. In this way we help protect
the wild bee genetic lines which need strengthening in case one day the worst happens and
Varroa or some other pest infiltrates our borders. We're also offering the community a service: re-housing honeybees which otherwise might