Updated: 05/07/2014 6:01 PM
Created: 05/07/2014 3:42 PM WHEC.com
By: Josh Nichols
For many years now, the honeybee population has been in decline. It is something not only hurting honey production, but it could mean you’ll find less fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market. Local honeybees have found a refuge in an unlikely spot--downtown Rochester!
If you love the sweet tastes of summer, then you have to give honeybees due credit. The European honeybees and their hives are thriving in downtown Rochester.
They may be small in size, but the European honeybee plays a big role in keeping New York State’s crops and gardens thriving. Recently, the bee population has been hurt due to everything from disease to the recent brutal winter. Fewer bees can mean fewer fruit and vegetables at the market. It also means less honey.
That's where Brian Babcock and his organization, Sweet Beez, steps in. Formed last year with the support of Foodlink, Sweet Beez and its team of volunteers promote the importance of the honeybee and beekeeping to our community. In fact, they are keeping beehives right in the heart of downtown Rochester, which Brian calls the last refuge of the honeybee.
Brian Babcock, Sweet Beez, said, “What we're finding and there's a lot of research coming out about this is that honeybees are surviving a lot better in an urban environment. And part of the reason is that there's a great diversity of stuff for the bees to forage in.”
In fact, bees in urban spaces like Rochester are doing better here than their countryside counterparts.
Mike Atwood, Sweet Beez, said, "The more we can do for the honeybees to get their hives going, the better it is for the bees and it brings the community together. It's an all around good thing."
All proceeds from the sale of Sweet Beez Honey go back to enhancing their educational programs in the community. If you’d like to learn more about what all the buzz is about with Sweet Beez, you can find them showing off their hives of busy bees at the Seneca Park Zoo, The Strong Museum as well as at number of festivals this summer.
If you are interested in volunteering for Sweet Beez or becoming a beekeeper, click here.