Urban Polinators: Bees in Your Backyard

Most residential yards have ornamental flowers which offer free nectar to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  Some yards may even have fruit trees or berry bushes which need pollinator insects for fruit production. An urban environment needs pollinators for sustainability.  This means bees in your backyard!  A healthy outdoor environment needs bees, and bees need a healthy outdoor environment — all the more reason never to use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other toxins in your yard!

Bumble Bee

A Bumble Bee pollinates a California Popppy

Bees need a safe place to call home.  Urban honeybees are usually required by law to be kept in specially-made mobile hive boxes and are subject to various rules and regulations intended to keep harmony with neighbors on small city lots.  The City of Seattle allows as many as four honeybee hives per lot.  To accommodate typical property line setbacks, a rooftop is the best place to put the hives.

Honeybee hive box on industrial roof

Urban beekeeper inspects honeybee hive on rooftop in industrial area

You can purchase or make nest boxes for bumblebees, mason bees, and other types of bees.  Ideally the bees will chose to use your bee house in your carefully selected location, rather than taking up residence in your attic, exterior wall, or somewhere else that would be very problematic.  But if you do find bees living somewhere undesirable, or honeybees in a swarm outside their hive, local beekeeper volunteers are willing to come collect these valuable insects and safely take them away to a new home.