Are bees dangerous to Albuquerque?

7 Jul

Psst… got bees swarming on your property? Report a bee swarm in Albuquerque.

Scarlett the bee dog

"Bee dog" photo by Erik Abderhalden | Find more adorable dogs in bee costumes at http://www.beedogs.com

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Asking whether bees are dangerous is like asking whether dogs are dangerous when the reality is this: Dogs bite.

In fact, in the U.S. 1000 people every day seek emergency treatment for dog bites. And the cost of managing canines is a significant burden on a community.

Even in Albuquerque, one of the top 3 calls to the City’s 311 line relates to reporting, complaining, or otherwise managing our urban dog population. (I used to manage the City website, that’s how I know ;-)) The unfortunate truth is our furry best friends can be a big fat headache. But we love them, and some might argue need them.

So too with honeybees, another species long domesticated by humans and one we’ve come to depend upon. The benefits of bees to a community, a recent article in the NY Times (via Sweet Hive Chicago) discusses, far outweigh the risks. ¬†Here’s why:

  • Free pollination by bees supports our entire agricultural system (In NM, you can’t even ask the state question “Red or Green?” without the help of a honeybee.)
  • Local honey may help with allergies
  • Urban honey has less chemicals than rural honey
  • Bees act as an indicator of overall health (Did you know they use bees to test air quality at German airports?)

[Read the full article]

So hug a honeybee, compadres. And if you’re allergic, stay away from wasps which tend to be responsible for most “bee attacks” in the populated areas we call home, sweet, home.

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5 Responses to “Are bees dangerous to Albuquerque?”

  1. Gord July 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    It’s amazing how paranoid people are about bees, when it’s incredibly unlikely that they’ve ever been stung by one. One of my neighbours freaked out when he found out about my hive this year. He was sure they were going to attack and kill someone. Then, I asked him how his garden last year compared to the year before. 2009 was much better than 2008. Did he have any problems with bees? No. Gee, I guess the hive I had in my yard LAST year might have helped, huh? I haven’t heard a peep about it since.

  2. karcuri13 July 8, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    A friend initially sent me this story (http://www.ktvu.com/news/24130815/detail.html) which they have since updated since it was initially reported as bees. It is amazing how wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, etc. sometimes all get categorized as “bees”.

  3. mistress beek July 8, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Thanks so much for weighing in here! Do any of your local beekeeping groups have a fact sheet they distribute to the media regarding urban beekeeping? Something like “common misconceptions” about bees or “facts about urban bees”?

    • Gord July 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      It’s technically illegal here in Ontario. The Ontario Bees Act requires that hives be 100′ from all property lines which rulles out the vast majority of urban space. The provincial apiarist has assured me that they only enforce it upon complaint, so we’re a bit of an underground thing.

    • karcuri13 July 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

      Unfortunately, Austin doesn’t really have a good local beekeeping group which blows my mind. There used to be one according to the ancient tomes of Google, but it seems to have been defunct for sometime now.

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