Beekeeper’s Bonus: Bees produce honey, pollinate plants, and occasionally provide a reminder to be mindful

story by April White | photos by Emily Wren“Beekeeping is a meditative practice,” says Adam Schreiber. “When you are working the bees, they require your full, undivided attention. If you don’t give that to them, they will let you know. They have a very demonstrative way of letting you know.” 

A hobby apiarist and former president of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, Schreiber, 41, works bees in colonies throughout the Fairmount neighborhood. He keeps hives in a community garden, in nearby Fairmount Park and even on the roof of his rowhome.

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Natural Crisis: A fight in preserving a place for honey bees

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If you’re a honey bee enthusiast, we have some bad news. Backyard beekeeping in Plymouth Township is under serious threat. The Plymouth Township Council recently proposed a bill to ban backyard beekpeeing on lots of 30,000 square feet or more. This ban would restrict beekeeping on 92 percent of residential properties in Plymouth Township.

The legislation was proposed after neighbors of a backyard beekeeper expressed concerns about being allergic to bee stings. While the ban would affect homesteading efforts in the township, minimizing the honey bee population is predicted to endanger gardens, vegetables, fruits and plants in the area as well.

To stop the council from passing the bill, residents have formed the organization Save Our Garden to raise awareness and gather support. Individuals can help by signing the online petition, donating to the Legal Defense Fund and attending public meetings.

The ordinance is currently in voting process and the next public hearing is scheduled for tonight, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.

For more information, and to join the fight in preserving a place for honey bees in Plymouth Township, visit

Learning by bumbling with bees

story by Tanya Veitch | illustration by Stephen HaighFirst, a confession: I am a full-on honey bee nerd. I love my bees and am totally addicted to beekeeping. I’ve been “keeping” bees since July 2010. In that time I’ve lost sleep, been stung (my fault), felt terrified and overwhelmed, and of course, made what feels like a million rookie mistakes. Still, I kept returning to the hive, and eventually I started to get the knack for this crazy hobby.
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How-To: What's the Buzz

Become a Philly Beekeeper
by Phil Forsyth & Micah Woodcock

Our recent urban beekeeping survey and tour revealed that the majority of Philly’s two dozen or so beekeepers started within the last five years. Why? We know that bees are essential pollinators for gardens, farms and orchards. Other than wind-pollinated corn, the vast majority of our vegetable, fruit and nut crops are highly dependent on bees for pollination. Commercial beekeepers rent out their hives all across the country, moving as the harvesting season changes. In recent years, these “rental” hives have been devastated by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which a hive’s worker bees suddenly disappear en masse.
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