Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big Apple Buzzing After Legalization Of Beekeeping -

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It's the buzz in New York City: bees are back, and it's not by accident. The benefits of bees reach far and wide.

To bee or not to bee? That is the question, and New York City answered with a resounding "yes" when it legalized beekeeping, which had previously been banned.

Now, beekeepers will be allowed to keep and nurture their own hives.

"I thought it was a great idea," Vivian Wang said.

Wang is a bee advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped lead the push for more bees in the city in the wake of a declining bee population due to pesticide exposure, diseases and parasites, among other causes.

"Commercial beekeepers started noticing winter losses of 30 to 90 percent of their colonies, so it's a pretty substantial problem," Wang said.

With that decline came a pollination shortage, which can have an enormous effect.

Andrew Cote, who has six hives of his own, is the director of Bees Without Borders.

"The bees visit all trees, pollinate them, and help them grow and flourish, [and] help vegetables and fruits grow," Cote said. "Without them, one-third of the food we enjoy commercially would not be out on plates."

The New York City Beekeepers Association estimates there are now already 200 beekeepers in New York City since it became legal in April, with the majority in Brooklyn, and expect more soon – as the buzz spreads.

Experts say beekeepers must notify the Health Department about their hives, and that the danger of bee stings is minimal.

CBS 2's Scott Rapoport contributed to this report.