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Beehives on a central London roof

Last week I took a trip up to the top of the Monument, which is a memorial to those who died in the Great Fire of London. I of course took lots of photos. And in a posting on my personal blog (now revived from recent hibernation), I also had a moan about the new wire netting that they have installed at the top of the Monument, in place of the old, more digital camera friendly, prison bars that used to be there.

Here is one of the snaps I snapped that day, featuring this new wire netting:


Now, it so happens that earlier last week, the night before my trip to the Monument, I also watched a TV show about bees. Most of it was about African bees migrating across the Savannah, with lots of lurid close-ups of bees looking like alien monsters. But, as this lady explains, at the end of this show they bolted on a short and quite different segment about how bee keeping, waning in the British countryside in the face of mechanised agriculture and pesticides, is now on the rise in the big city. It was like two entirely separate shows. Very peculiar. Luckily for me, I found both shows interesting.

Anyway, take a look through the centre hole in the photo above. What do you see? I’ll tell you what you see. You see beehives. Here’s a closer look at them:


And at two of them even closer:


The first of those three beehive snaps was taken by mistake, as it were. As in: I only realised that bee hives were involved in it when I got home. But, provoked by having watched that TV bee show, I photoed the two subsequent bee hive snaps on purpose.

The anti-technological-progress, anti-capitalist take on this story is that technological progress, capitalism etc. is making life hell for bees in the countryside. And for the time being, technological progress stroke capitalism is indeed turning the countryside from bee heaven into something rather less bee hospitable, although it may soon work out how to refrain from doing this and how to switch the countryside back to being bee heaven again.

Meanwhile, cities like London, with all their gardens full of varied flowers, are becoming new bee heavens.

8 comments to Beehives on a central London roof

  • Patrick Bramwell

    When in London I stay at The Cavendish on Jermyn/Duke street and watch the bees on Fortnum and Mason’s roof..

  • veryretired

    Recent research finding was that the bee die off was due to a parasite of some kind. Pesticide charge is unsubstantiated Carlsonism, like the silicone breast implant fiasco or the current vaccination fraud.

  • michael grosh

    Hive collapse is what the honey bee die off is called in this country (U.S.) and is a serious threat to agriculture, at least according to current fear monger theory (they always need something, don’t they?).
    The thing is, honey bees are exotic to the Americas. They were introduced by colonists early on. The Indians called them ‘the white man’s fly’. Granted, monoculture requires specialized systems, but surely the previous primary pollinators can step up to the plate.
    I know my blueberry plants host hordes of gnats when they flower.
    The ‘killer(Africanized) bee’ threat seems to have gone away. I don’t know if that is a function of hive collapse, or the fear mongers have moved on to something else.

  • West

    Do you think that these city beekeepers are doing this service out of the goodness of their hearts? I doubt it, there is certainly a profit motive involved, so while “technological progress stroke capitalism” may be making it inhospitable for bees in the countryside (alllowing the point for argument’s sake) , it is also husbanding them elsewhere. Endlessly inventive, that damn unbridled capitalism.

    Whereas if the government were in charge of beekeeping, it’d still be in the committee stage of ‘studying’ the problem – until there were no more bees.

    I’ll take capitalism.

  • Central London Roof is a great place to go… I hope you enjoyed our London

  • I’ve considered keeping bees on our balcony.
    The wife is not keen.

  • Jim

    Well given that I’m sitting less than half a mile from about 30 hives in this one little part of the countryside, I don’t think that the countryside can be that inhospitable to the bee population.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Ive got a few hives of my own (4), its a nice little hobby, plus I get to experience the Marxist “exploitation of the Proletariat” every time I raid one for honey..

    The flavour really changes depending on the flowers nearby. Old honey is more golden and thick and has a much more intense flavour.

    Best fun was picking up a wild swarm when an inquisitive 5 year old chatterbox asked “did you get the queen?”, My father said yes, so the little smart arse said “how do you know?”.. Dad replied “she was wearing a little crown”, this seemed a perfectly acceptable answer to the kid..

    Theres “in the wall(Link)” kitchen hives available now, Ive never seen one in use, but its a nice novelty gift.

    Im a little too alergic to the stings to do more than much around with them, 3 stings in one raid swelled up my whole forearm and put me in bed for a day.