Though not everyone likes them, bees share a close relationship with humans. Yes, we eat their honey, but the relationship goes deeper than that. We need to grow vast amounts of crops in order to feed ourselves, and those crops need to be pollinated each year, primarily by bees. But due to an overabundance of pesticides and a rising global temperature, bee populations have been dwindling in recent years. This isn’t good news, for us or the bees. Thankfully, there may be a solution in sight.
Urban beekeeping is turning out to be more than just a trend, and after a successful pilot project by the City of Edmonton, St. Albert City Council is looking at the possibility of introducing backyard beehives in our own city. It seems like a no-brainer to some, but there are a lot of factors to consider, the first of which is whether or not the people of St. Albert even want bees in their city. After all, honeybees can’t exactly be contained to one yard. If one person in a neighbourhood starts raising bees, the whole neighbourhood will become the pollination grounds for the hive. To those who have allergies to insect stings, a spike in the bee population might be unwelcome news. Then there are those with insect phobias to consider, and also the amount of noise that a backyard beehive would generate.
But the arguments in favour of urban beekeeping are equally compelling. Urban beekeepers are, of course, helping to save a species in decline, but as a nice side effect, they also get to save a bit of money at the grocery store and have a bit more control over where their food comes from. But the main benefit to the non-beekeeping population of St. Albert would be that an influx of bees would help to pollinate all of the plants in our community, allowing the Botanical Arts City to blossom as it never has before.
City Council plans to announce its decision on the matter later this fall, a decision that is sure to create a great deal of buzz, regardless of which side of the matter City Council falls on.