Did you know that you could be spreading Golden Gate Park Honey on your breakfast toast these foggy mornings? Disadvantaged bees make it; they have been rescued and relocated to a rooftop near Golden Gate Park out by Ocean Beach. The bees harvest nectar from eucalyptus, lavender, thyme and other bee-attractive plants in the nearby park. The nonprofit organization Habitat for Honeybees maintains the hives and captures, bottles and sells the honey online: http://habitatforhoneybees.org/buy-our-honey.html It’s also available at select locations in the city, such as Angelina’s Cafe in the Richmond or Bi-Rite Market in the Mission.
Feral bees swarm when a hive gets too large or overcrowded . . . a natural process in the countryside, resulting in new colonies and perpetuating the species. But in the city bees often swarm or attempt to relocate in inconvenient places like attics or playgrounds. Local bee-keepers are on call to remove swarms and bees are actually easy to move when they are swarming, i.e. before they start to build a new hive, because when they aren’t defending a hive they are less likely to sting. Habitat for Honeybees maintains hives for rescued bees throughout the Bay Area and is soliciting volunteers to host a hive, preferably in a large garden or near a park where the bees can forage. So maybe we can look forward to a taste-off between Golden Gate Park Honey and . . . other park varietals?
Eucalyptus is one of the few sources of nectar for bees during the winter months. That’s a time of year when there is little else to feed the feral honeybees which don’t hibernate during the winter, unlike native bees.
As you probably know, hundreds of eucalypts have been destroyed in San Francisco because they are not native and the plans of the Natural Areas Program require the destruction of about 18,000 more, Here’s a letter written to an editor by a Bay Area beekeeper about the impact that will have on the bees: http://milliontrees.me/2011/01/15/destruction-of-eucalyptus-threatens-bees/
That’s a simply gorgeous picture! But I think that might be a bumblebee, not a honeybee, on the flower?