September is Bee Aware Month and Wellington City Libraries is excited to announce a very special project that will bring a buzz to Civic Square. We wanted to do our bit to help the bee population and the invaluable work those little insects do to contribute to our food chain. The large empty space on our rooftop seemed like an obvious place to set up some beehives.
After months of preparation, there was a hive of activity on the Central Library’s rooftop recently when Sarah Adams, Urban Agriculture Advisor for Wellington City Council and Cenna Lloyd, professional beekeeper from Local Flavour Urban Honey Company joined us to make space for bees that will be calling our vast roof space home in the next few weeks.
It was an exercise in preparing a welcoming and safe home for the bees that will be introduced to their new home later this Spring, once the weather is warmer and more settled.
The hives will be sitting on a pallet that was carried up the stairs and secured to the railings. Cenna arrived with a whole bunch of bee friendly plants which we placed in a few planters around the beehive space to provide a local source of pollen.
If you are thinking of setting up a beehive of your own in your backyard or rooftop, here are a few titles to get you started.
The rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees
“The number of urban beekeepers has escalated with more than 25 percent increases year over year in the United States and the United Kingdom. From a go-to authority on beekeeping and backyard farming the Rooftop Beekeeper is the first handbook to explore the ease and charm of keeping bees in an urban environment. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also provides readers with plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with home-harvested honey.” (Syndetics)
Better beekeeping : the ultimate guide to keeping stronger colonies and healthier, more productive bees
“This book takes serious beekeepers past the beginning stages and learning curves and offers solutions and rewards for keeping bees a better way. Better queens, better winters, better food, and better bees await any beekeeper willing to take on the challenge of having the right number of bees, of the right age, in the right place, in the right condition, at the right time.” (Syndetics)
Victory gardens for bees : a DIY guide to saving the bees
“This book investigates the growing problem of bee mortality and offers practical measures we can all take to help. In ecological terms, bees play a critical role in the survival of many plant communities and the continuation of life on this planet. Now that bees are facing unprecedented levels of die-off caused by a toxic mixture of environmental stresses, a community-based effort is needed to make gardens, fields and landscapes healthy sanctuaries for bees. Victory Gardens for Bees is also buzzing with DIY projects that will provide nesting sites and essential supplies for precious pollinators.”(Syndetics)
Save the bees with natural backyard hives : the easy and treatment-free way to attract and keep healthy bees
“The husband-and-wife team behind the nonprofit HoneyLove make the case that beekeeping ought to be treated as more than a hobby or money-making enterprise. It is an entrance into a complex and sometimes fierce world that must be engaged and understood on its own terms.”(Syndetics)
Keeping bees and making honey / Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum.
“You don’t need acres of secluded gardens to be able to keep bees–hives can be found on many an urban rooftop, inner-city balcony or mounted on walls in the strangest of places. Keeping Bees and Making Honey covers everything you need to consider before you set up your colony. Packed with images, information, practical advice, recipes and gardening tips, Keeping Bees and Making Honey is the ideal companion for every aspiring beekeeper.” (Syndetics)