Words by Zoe Zorka
Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of “buzz” about the dwindling bee population. Bees play an obvious and important role in our ecosystem and their honey is used not just for as a condiment, it also a key cooking ingredient in both foods as well as many types of craft beers.
While the bee population might be dwindling throughout the rest of the world, in Detroit, bees are flourishing in what were once abandoned lots that local residents have turned into hives. In 2017, Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey started Detroit Hives, a nonprofit whose motto is “Work Hard, Stay Bumble.” After purchasing an abandoned lot from the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an organization whose purpose is to sell once-blighted plots to nonprofits and faith-based groups, According to Green Garage, another Detroit nonprofit whose mission is to build a sustainable and profitable future for Detroit, there are approximately somewhere between 500 and 600 honeybee hives within the Detroit city limits, with approximately 30,000 bees housed in each hive on average. Bees in the D, another group, placed 29 hives in 2017, up from the 6 that they placed in 2016. They currently also sell their honey to local restaurants, hotels, and bars to be used in their recipes. They are hoping to place over 70 hives by the end of the 2018 season.
Paule and Lindsey became certified beekeepers, starting slowly and gradually building up their hive. Recently, they spoke to the Huffigton Post about the importance of sharing their conservation efforts by presenting at local schools. They also sell their honey to both the general public as well as local vendors that use it to create baked goods, sauces, and best of all, Black Bottom Brewery, a Detroit brewery, which uses it to make their local handcrafted beer.
Even better, a University of Michigan research study found that the Detroit bees often thrive in that vacant lots, where flowering weeds aren’t treated with pesticides, thus supporting the idea that urban landscapes might be the future of saving the bees.
And making pretty good beer.