Atlanta Urban beekeeping on the rise

If it seems that the buzz around bees has picked up volume, that’s because it has. According to the USDA, bees help pollinate one-third of all our food, but recently, a mysterious and destructive honeybee disease called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been wiping out record numbers of hives across the U.S. Although CCD is a common phenomonom, scientists can’t explain why it’s increasing at such a devastating rate.

Coincidentally, headlines about the crisis combined with a dining culture fixed on a farm-to-table philosophy have pushed urban beekeeping into the spotlight. Once a thing of rural countryside farms, bees are now moving to the city in droves.

Cindy Hodges, an urban beekeeper and president of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association, says she’s witnessed the skyrocketing interest in all things bees. “When I joined the association [in 2006] we had 40 members. We now have more than 200,” Hodges says. “Urban beekeeping is growing.” According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the vast majority of honey now actually comes from small-scale beekeepers with only a few hives worth of bees.

Atlantans, along with the rest of the country, are installing hives on high-rise rooftop gardens and in their own backyards. Hotels like the Four Seasons Atlanta and the Hyatt Regency’s Polaris keep their own bees and use the honey in their restaurants. Hodges helms the rooftop garden beehives for the Polaris alongside executive chef Martin Pfefferkorn, who calls the bees “his girls.” Pfefferkorn relies on the bees for their honey and for pollinating his herb garden.

Bees at Polaris

Ordinances governing urban beekeeping vary from state to state, but if you want to keep bees here in Atlanta, there’s little standing in your way. “There are no rules restricting it in the metro Atlanta area currently,” says Hodges. While there are no official guidelines governing city bees, the association urges beekeepers to use good practices, such as providing bees with a nearby water supply and setting them as far away from your neighbor’s door as possible.

For first-timers looking to get their start, the director of the University of Georgia’s Honey Bee Program, Keith Delaplane, has penned the hobby beekeeper’s bible, First Lessons in Beekeeping. A popular blog by an Atlanta beekeeper, Linda’s Bees, has additional starter info, and the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association holds educational meetings at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

And if you’re thinking bees might still be better suited to the country life, research actually shows the opposite. Master beekeeper Noah Wilson Rich discussed at a recent Ted Talk that the lack of suburban pesticides in cities makes urban bees heartier and more productive than their rural counterparts.

So really, there’s been no better time to start your own hives. Honey and beekeeping helmets are officially hip. As Hodges point out, “it’s not your grandmother’s beekeeping anymore.”

– See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/covereddish/2014/06/16/urban-beekeeping-on-the-rise#sthash.pTbE2Cf8.dpuf

A New Look For Spring

BH on the hive

A Bee’s life

Honey straight from the hives


We’re not going to win any accolades from the traditional beekeepers with this one.  Growing up, my mother would prepare a meal for the family.  The smells and spices would fill the air and tempt one to steal just a taste of what was coming.  Well, some things don’t change and the other day we took a spoon to taste some of the Buckhead Honey warm from hive.  Not recommended but still delicious.


Buckhead Honey from the Hive

A Visitor

Board Member AB arrived in Atlanta this past weekend to visit the hives.

AB inspects the hives

The Burr Cometh

What happens when you leave a gap in the hive? The bees build the Burr. Honey Bees instinctively fill in any space larger than a honey bee with comb. Honeybuck and I left a frame out of one our hives (Ignatius) and were gifted with a beautiful section of burr comb.

After a brief panic and some expert counsel from our Adviser Ms. McKay McFadden, we were able to remove all the bees from the burr comb and cut it off the inner cover. Afterwards we had a little lick of honey off the top of the burr comb and put it away to become a trophy for another day.

Burr Comb BuckheadHoney1

Garden Rose

It is a beautiful day in the garden of the South.