Berlin’s urban bees still buzzing


Bees. The very word makes us wince, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, they usually get a bad wrap for being conspicuously similar to their more aggressive family member—the wasp. Wasps tend to be much more aggressive than bees and they are natural predators. Bees, on the other hand, are pollinators.

Now, that's a wasp. Scary.
Now, that’s a wasp. Scary.

And they’re actually really great—we promise.

The benefits of bees 

Their biggest claim to fame is their pollinating property. Bees need the pollen and nectar from plants for food and to make honey. The flowers need their pollen to be transported to other flowers in order to make seeds. So when a bee is simply just flying from bud to bud, they are actually doing a great service to nature.

And they give us honey, too!
And they give us honey, too!

They give a great contribution to our agricultural sector. Most of the crops grown—both edible and not—require pollination by insects. In addition, especially for organic agriculture, bees provide a valuable service in increasing biodiversity and protecting crops.

They’ve recently been added to the endangered species list, but it’s not quite what you may think

Yes, bees have just been added to endangered species list for the first time.  But actually, none of the seven species on the list are honeybees. In fact, they are all yellow-faced bees, native to Hawaii. And they are not dying from colony collapse, instead humans are moving in on their habitat. In addition, more invasive species like pigs, goats and crazy yellow ants (yes, that’s their name) have meant bad things for Hawaii’s bees too.

But that actually may not be a bad thing.

When they’re put on the endangered list, more attention is paid to protecting their environment and there’s more funding for conservation.

Enter: Urban beekeeping

Honeybees are great pollinators!
Honeybees are great pollinators!

The idea of urban beekeeping—the practice of keeping bees in urban areas—has been on the rise in the past 10 years. Big cities around the world have established associations and Germany is definitely no exception.

Since early 2011, about a dozen beehives have been set up around Berlin!

The initiative behind this, known as Berlin Summt! is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging as many Berliners as possible to love their bees. They’ve placed honeybee hives in prominent spots throughout the city to increase the knowledge and understanding of how they function in our ecosystem—and how precious they are to us humans and animals too. 

Want to know more?

The initiative organizes events throughout Berlin to hold meetings, get to know the other “beekeepers” in the city and continue to spread the mission. This coming Wednesday, October 12th, they are holding an event at the Auferstehungskirche in Friedrichshain. All are welcome!