New York City Food Policy Center: Beekeeping in New York City

From the New York City Food Policy Center by Lani Furbank:

“Honeybees have been in the spotlight for the past several years because of national debates over pesticide safety, concern over colony collapse disorder, and more. This attention is much deserved, seeing as 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators like bees,according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat wouldn’t exist without bees or other pollinators. So, it’s a little more than problematic that these species are in trouble. Instead of arguing over the cause or the consequences of the decline of honeybees, many New Yorkers are doing something about it by becoming beekeepers.

New York City is home to more than eight million humans, but it also supports hundreds of bee hives, each containing tens of thousands of busy pollinators. The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College has compiled a list of11 rooftop and garden apiaries that are helping honey bees thrive, one season at a time.”

11216 Honey

Location: 156 Quincy Street, #1, Brooklyn, NY

Beekeepers: Ryan McCullough

Founded: 2011

Reason for founding: “I started beekeeping because of the struggle of the bees and I was curious.”

Mission: N/A

Number of hives: Six

Amount of honey produced: “The yield of honey varies with the weather. When the weather is dry during the summer, the bees eat the honey, which is why they make it. In winter, you need to leave 70 pounds of honey on the hive so they have winter food. They never sleep. They cluster, vibrate, and generate heat all winter, eating most of their stores by spring.”

Types of products: Raw, unpasteurized, single-hive honey and dried honey products

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: “I don’t blend my honey with honey from other hives. Each hive makes its own flavor of honey.”

Where to find their products: Whisk in Brooklyn

Andrew’s Honey

Location: CT, NY, NYC

Beekeepers: Norm, Mike, Andrew, Patrick, Max Cote

Founded: 1860’s

Reason for founding: “Honey”

Mission: “Safe, responsible beekeeping and paying our bills”

Number of hives: “Hundreds”

Amount of honey produced: Not willing to share

Types of products: Raw unfiltered honey, varietal honey, whipped honey, comb honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, ambrosia, beeswax, candles, handmade soaps, live bees

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: They also offer urban honey tours, swarm removal services, and bee consultations.

Where to find their products: Greenmarkets at Union Square (Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-6pm), Forest Hills (Sundays, 8am-3pm; Apr-Dec), and Tucker Square (Thursdays, 7am-5:30pm; Sep-Dec); and at retail locations, restaurants, and bakeries, including Stew Leonard’s, Whole Foods Market in Port Chester, Blue Hill, The Brooklyn Star, Café Boulud, Mari Vanna, Momofuku, Union Square Cafe, Bouchon Bakery, and more.


Location: Brooklyn

Beekeepers: Tim and Shelly

Founded: 2010

Reason for founding: “BoroughBees was founded to share knowledge and experiences about urban beekeeping.”

Mission: “Educate city citizens about the role of pollinators in an urban environment”

Number of hives: “About 10”

Amount of honey produced: Not willing to share

Types of products: “Education”

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: “We focus on sustainable beekeeping with an eye towards education rather than honey production. We harvest for personal use and community sharing rather than sales.”

Where to find their products: Not for sale

Brooklyn Grange Apiary

Location: Multiple rooftops throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

Beekeepers: Chase Emmons

Founded: 2011

Reason for founding: N/A

Mission: “While honey, hive products, and bees are our bread and butter, our core mission also includes spreading knowledge of these amazing creatures and increasing their numbers in the face of the chemical threat posed by commercial agriculture.  Not only are we breeding local bees, we are breeding local beekeepers!”

Number of hives: “Approximately 30”

Amount of honey produced: “Several hundred pounds”

Types of products: Honey, honey whiskey in partnership with Kings County Distillery

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: The apiary is spread out across rooftops in three boroughs. They offer a season-long beekeeping training program and workshops to train new beekeepers. And Brooklyn Grange offers hive installation and maintenance services for private and corporate clients in the tri-state area.

Where to find their products: Jars are available at their weekly farm stands: at their Long Island City rooftop farm (Saturdays from 11am-4pm; May-Oct) and McGolrick Park in Greenpoint (Sundays from 11am-4pm; May-Nov), and customized honey jars are available for weddings or special events by contacting

Brooklyn Queen

Location: Hart to Hart Community Garden: 108 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY and 280 Chester Street, Brooklyn, NY

Beekeepers: Margot Dorn

Founded: 2010

Reason for founding: “Interest in beekeeping”

Mission: “Education and Honey and wax production”

Number of hives: Seven

Amount of honey produced: “Not sure”

Types of products: Raw honey, lip balm

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: “I work with adolescents in Brownsville to provide a mentorship program. This program build’s their scientific knowledge of beekeeping while allowing them to be entrepreneurs and build a business around the products of the hive.

Where to find their products: Retail locations include Greene Grape, Brooklyn Larder, Willoughby General, and Sahadi’s.

Mee Beauty

Location: Douglaston, NY

Beekeepers: Ruth and Matthew Harrigan

Founded: October 2012

Reason for founding: “We created the beauty line to use as a vehicle to help in saving the bees by donating 1% of sales to 1% for the Planet.”

Mission: “To raise awareness of the vanishing of the bees as they are an integral part of our food supply”

Number of hives: 14 hives in Queens (Douglaston, Flushing, Bayside) and Staten Island

Amount of honey produced: “Varies from year to year. Approximately 400 pounds per year.”

Types of products: Lip balms, skin creams, lotions, shampoos, and body wash

Unique aspect about process or beekeeping: “One or two beehives are very manageable in a suburban backyard or rooftop. Beekeeping is seasonal from March to October in the NY metro region. It is not only a great hobby, but the bees are helping in pollinating trees and flowers in the area. Pure honey is the ultimate reward when the season comes to a close.”

Where to find their products: Products can be purchased through their website and on Amazon.”

Read the full article to learn about five more apiaries HERE!