Image Copyright 2010, BoroughBees.com
I've gotten a few e-mails from friends and readers forwarding the recent article in the New York Times covering the outbreak of red “honey” in Red Hook, so firstly, THANK YOU to everyone who sent it to me. It's a very well-written article and it delves into the pressing issues of gentrification and the social friction it creates.
Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees. She had raised them right, given them all the best opportunities—acres of urban farmland strewn with fruits and vegetables, a bounty of natural nectar and pollen . . .Follow the link to the full NYT Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyregion/30bigcity.htm
And then this. Her bees, the ones she had been raising in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and on Governors Island since May, started coming home to their hives looking suspicious. . . . Where there should have been a touch of gentle amber showing through the membrane of their honey stomachs was instead a garish bright red. The honeycombs, too, were an alarming shade of Robitussin.
While gentrification and the clashes between local businesses, old residents, and newcomers to neighborhoods are fascinating, as a beekeeper, I've been much more curious about the beekeeping aspects of this story since it first came to my attention several months ago.
A lot of people have a very pastoral view of bees: flying from flower to flower slowly, sedately, looking for food, dancing their way toward a hive full of honey happily donated to our kitchens and tables. The reality is frantic, a constant struggle for survival against a legion of enemies. Honeybees are desperately productive, and the old saying “busy as a bee” takes on new meaning when you consider that most bees die in the field, full of food and nectar, expending the last of their energy on One. Last. Load.