This workshop has a lot of buzz!
A rooftop farm in the Brooklyn Navy Yard will teach urbanites the secret to raising bees and harvesting their honey while in a crowded borough. And those who take the “Introduction to Beekeeping” class at the Brooklyn Grange on Feb. 18 may learn something from the way the industrious insects work together, said one of the farm’s founders.
“They all work collaboratively to the benefit of the organism,” said Anastasia Plakias. “In a city like New York, it can feel like we’re working against each other.”
Brooklyn Grange keeps 30 beehives at different rooftop locations throughout the city, and its bee classes are among its most popular events, said Plakias. The class on Feb. 18 is designed for those who are totally new to the subject, covering bee anatomy, their role in the environment, and how much outdoor space you need to keep a beehive — which is less than you might think, said its teacher.
“Four by four feet is enough space to keep a beehive,” said Carin Zinter, a professional beekeeper. “It’s not space intensive.”
Bees also require a source of fresh water near the hive, she said, and beekeepers must register their hives with the New York City Department of Health.
Bees are dormant for the winter, so the beekeeping season in Brooklyn usually begins in April. But those seeking sweet returns must be patient, said Zinter — beekeepers typically harvest honey in the fall of the year after starting the hive. During the first year, the hive will need all its honey as a food source to survive the winter.
Those who do not keep bees can still support the busy buzzers by buying local, said Zinter.
“If you buy local honey, it supports local beekeepers,” she said. “People sometimes don’t think about where the honey they buy comes from.”
Brooklynites can also support the green spaces that bees need, said Zinter.
“Rooftop farms, gardens, parks. Support these spaces anyway you can,” she said.
Zinter and Brooklyn Grange have a bee in their bonnet about the honey producers, bee-cause bees pollinate a wide variety of the vegetables and fruits that humans eat.
“They’re out there pollinating our food and plants,” said Plakias. “They’re critical to the ecosystem.”
“Introduction to Beekeeping” at Brooklyn Grange (63 Flushing Ave. at Clinton Avenue in Fort Greene, www.brook
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