What’s all the buzz about?
At West 5, we’re all about implementing innovative ideas to help the environment. That’s why we’ve teamed up with local beekeeper Dan, owner of Heff’s Hives, to bring Urban Beekeeping to the West 5 community. Dan’s passion for bees is contagious, and as he taught us about caring for our two hives on Sifton Centre’s green roof, it wasn’t hard to understand why.
Did you know that honeybees are responsible for about 1/3 of every bite we take? No wonder they’re called “worker bees”!
You may think of bees simply as honey producers, but they actually play a major role in pollinating flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, climate change, and the use of pesticides, the bee population is on a steep decline. This is not good news for the environment. Pollination is needed for plants to reproduce and bloom, and while some plants rely on wind for pollination, many depend on the bees. Without the bees, the plants couldn’t grow, which you can imagine would have a significant impact on many animal species, including humans, who depend on those plants for their own survival. Thankfully, there are people like Dan, educating us about the role that urban beekeeping can play in helping to combat this vitally important issue.
One of the questions he’s asked most about urban beekeeping is “will we get stung?”, and we wondered too – Dan was quick to reassure us that, unlike wasps, honeybees rarely sting. While wasps are attracted to sugary drinks and snacks and seem to sting just for the fun of it, honeybees are interested in pollen and nectar, and will only sting if the hive feels threatened.
At West 5, our bees are happy and safe in their rooftop hives. They’ve been busy (or maybe “buzzzzzy”) making themselves right at home. Much like our residents, the bees love the great location – with our green roof, neighbourhood gardens and woods nearby, it’s just a short flight to a variety of different plants and flowers for pollen and nectar. Urban beehives like ours make perfect homes for bees, with ample vegetation and London’s strict pesticide bylaws in place, our bees are healthy and productive. Not only do our bees provide beeswax and non pasturized honey for us to enjoy, they also provide valuable education about our food system and teach us the importance of a sustainable lifestyle – all while pollinating hearts and minds!