Urban Beekeeping Bad For Bees?

Urban beekeeping could have devastating effects on the bees and native wild pollinators as well, according to recent research from the University of Sussex.*

The study suggested instead that people should be planting wild flowers instead of keeping bees, as urban honeybees are struggling to find adequate food sources and may end up starving or sick.

In London, over the past five years, the number of hives has doubled.

According to Professor Francis Ratneiks, interviewed in The Telegraph, urban beekeeping is not the solution to the decline of honeybees, because it risks bringing too many bees to an area where there is not enough pollen and nectar, potentially risking widespread disease.

“Both honeybees and wild bees have been declining. Although the causes are complex the most important seems to be loss of flowers and habitat.

‘If the problem is not enough flowers, increasing the number of hives risks making that problem worse. The honeybee is just one of many insect species which feed on nectar and pollen. Having a high density of honeybee hives is not only bad for honeybees, but may also affect bumblebees and other species feeding on the same flowers.” – The Telegraph

The upswing in urban beekeeping is yet another example of creating one problem by using flawed logic to solve another. If we truly wish to help our fellow animals, instead of “using them,” we ought to offer them the sanctuary they so desperately need. As professor Francis Ratnieks suggests, planting wild flowers and keeping a chemical free yard are gifts anyone can give to honey bees and other native pollinators in their area.

I would also go a step further to suggest giving up honey in general, as this is the honeybee’s winter food reserve, which they are obviously in need of.

Putting aside what honey is and the purpose it serves for the bees themselves, it is an unnecessary part of our diet. And as this study shows, whether you get honey from your neighbor’s backyard or the store, the hive that created it had to work hard to do so.** Just in case you didn’t know, a honeybee colony will collectively have to travel over 55,000 miles (or more) to make just one pound of honey.

Especially with the marked decline over the past few years in the population of bees, both “kept” and wild, it is time to stop using and keeping bees and to start planting more pesticide and herbicide-free wild flower gardens!


** Potentially coming into contact with pesticides and other harmful chemicals along the way.

* Published by The Society of Biology

Related Stories:

Three Reasons Not to Eat Honey
Backyard Chicken Farming Fails
Eco-friendly Animal Products?
The Missing Children You Won’t See on Milk Cartons




Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa2 years ago

Thank you

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa2 years ago

Thank you

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago

Save Bees

Sid N.
angela m.3 years ago


Carole R.
Carole R.3 years ago

Thank you for the post.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

"But corn doesn’t provide flowers for bees to feed on, cutting out an important food source for bees between seasons"...............saw this in one of Dale O's comments, seems to be a quote that was made in another member's post. Aaah, but not true. Corn stalks cannot produce ears without having been pollinated. Technically, the stalks do not have "flowers", true, but at the top of each stalk there will be "silk" which contains POLLEN. Without having insects cross-pollinate the stalks, and there must be more than one "variety", the stalks will just grow tall and not produce ears of CORN. A few years back, my stallion got into my garden before I got a "hot tape" fence around it and ate the entire outer row of corn stalks to about 12" from the ground. At the time, they were not mature, had not produced "silk" tassles. I knew that the row he ate never would, and was going to pull them up, but was advised I could manually "pollinate" by hand from the silk on the other stalks. Normally, bees do that, but we never notice.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Wild bees are pretty much everywhere, yes, even in urban areas. Wild bees would include any colony that is not in a hive maintained and "kept" BY HUMAN BEINGS, aka "beekeepers". Wild bees generally won't travel so far to forage that they go into densely populated urban business districts, but even there, people can contribute to helping them by planting proper "floral" crops in their yards, assuming they have a yard, or planter boxes, or as is being done in many cities, on rooftops. NYC, for example, is converting many buildings into having hydroponic gardens on the roofs of condominiums and apartments and warehouses.

To keep things clear, I did not comment about use of the word, "salve" at all. That was Dale O.

'Great White' Earth & Bei
'Great White' 3 years ago

I cannot find the post and if you agree with the post, that said in so many words, Why cannot we have fruit plants everywhere, then this is my response.

As long as it does not take any more land and water (growing on walls and roofs and Etc., and recylce water), and does not use fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs and such BAD things!

'Great White' Earth & Bei
'Great White' 3 years ago

Dimitris D.,

Sorry, attention in too many places, while reading your post, sorry. Just ignore my previous post. I reported it as mistake and asked it to be removed, Care2 needs to have edit options for posts, so I edit and delete after posting. Sure, I do not need it a lot; however, such posts drive me as crazy as other members, for it eating space.