A Case for Urban Beekeeping in Singapore

From the Voice of a Singaporean, Dec 2011

Yet another success story of urban beekeeping the city! Now there seems to be a no-ending discovery of urban concrete jungles buzzing with beekeeping activities on the rooftop. The number of urban rooftop beekeepers seems to be rising rapidly all over the world after the news that honeybees are dying by the millions of the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which experts have attributed to multiple causes such as pesticides, diseases and parasites.

I'm surprised that a socio-cultural organization that promotes local eating and the reduction of food carbon footprint has found a platform for the honeybees on the rooftop of a 14-storey building in one of the world's most densely populated cities, Hong Kong. Nothing is too unlikely, I supposed when it comes to doing something meaningful to protect the environment.

Cosmopolitan Brooklyn, the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, saw hundreds of residents inspired by the plight of bees and climbing to their rooftops to keep and help save the bees. I believe when the authorities reversed a long-standing ban on urban beekeeping in 2010, more New Yorkers revelled in celebrations than grimaced with disapproval. Perhaps what is most delightful is the honey bee farm atop a building in most posh and expensive Ginza district at the heart of the Tokyo that houses trendy stores such as the Matsuya department store, Gucci, Apple. Etc. The honey produced there is used to make cakes and pastries sold at famous patisseries and confectionaries.

Tokyo, Japan
Hong Kong
New York, United States
Toronto, Canada

Rooftop urban beekeeping in Singapore may sound out of this world for most people (especially when more integrated resorts, iconic modern architecture, Formula One races, casinos are springing up all over), but there are too many cases in point to prove that urban beekeeping is a hobby that anyone can endeavour even for those dwelling in the most crowded cities. Considering the amount of flora and the number of high rise apartments and tall skyscrapers in Singapore, the potential rooftop food production and beekeeping appears to be tremendous (but then, what do I know?). Also, there is a growing recognition that honeybees living in cities tend to produce more and better honey than those kept in the countryside and rural hives. With summer all year round, the honeybees will always be busy and we would be enjoying a constant flow of nectar harvested from the nectar and pollen rich flowers and plants in the nature reserves, designated parks, community gardens, and housing estates.

Make Singapore a green oasis for the honey bee, educate the people on the importance of biodiversity and help them overcome the fear of the master pollinator of our ecosystem. And make beekeeping a community activity, bring back a slice of nature to the urban sprawl and into our lives, so that we city dwellers can also tend our own hives, don netted hoods and white jumpsuits, stack up beehives dripping with honey, crank the centrifugal machine, and eat our own local, raw and unpasteurised glistening golden liquid made in Singapore. What a jubilant day this will be for all nature lovers, bee fans, and honey enthusiasts!

Ruth Tan
Dec 2011
June 2014 (Updated)

Read Related Pages

1. Can We Have the Honey Bee Back, Please?
2. Keeping Bees in Singapore
3. Start Beekeeping in Singapore
4. Bee Removal in Singapore
5. John Smith's Posting on "Keeping Bees in Singapore"
6. Status of Honey in Singapore
7. In Search of Honey and Bees in Hong Kong

End of "A Case for Urban Beekeeping in Singapore". Back to "Can We Have the Honey Bee Back, Please?"

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