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Allergy Sufferer Turned Urban Beekeeper

Teresa Yost

This post is part of our series that captures the experiences of our NYCBA Urban Beekeeping Apprentices as they learn to care for beehives in the NYC area. Here our beekeeping apprentice, Teresa, shares about her rewarding discovery of urban beekeeping.

As an allergy sufferer, I was at my grocery store in the East Village in search for the most local honey I could find with in a reasonable distance of Manhattan since logically it would be impossible to buy local New York City honey. How could local raw honey be made in a city of concrete? As I was turning around each bottle to check the origin I stopped when I read Brooklyn. Not being a native to the tri-state area, I googled the zip code listed to be certain this was indeed the area just across the river from my apartment. To my surprise, I went home with a new jar of honey that I thought couldn't get any more local than Brooklyn but I would eventually find out I was wrong.

In pursuit of answers as to how and where this Brooklyn honey came from, I began to stumble upon blogs and articles about urban keeping. I had no idea this was even possible let alone happening all over my city. Once I landed on the New York City Beekeepers Association's website I knew I had to get involved. Not quite knowing if I was brave enough to be around tens of thousands of stinging creatures, I thought maybe I could help volunteer behind the scenes some how... so much for that theory. After taking their Urban beekeeping 101 class over the winter, learning about those magical little bees made me want to dive right in and get my hands sticky and even potentially stung. (Knock on wood, I haven't been stung yet... perhaps I'll be the first beekeeper ever in the history of beekeeping not to get stung!? A girl can dream...).

Now as an apprentice urban beekeeper, when I zip up my full body sting suit (while maybe singing in my head a little "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!") I get a flutter of excitement as to what I'm about to see, learn, and experience. Bees in this city have taken me to a rooftop of a French bakery in Bushwick, a 200 year old cemetery with sheep grazing in SoHo, a 5-star luxury hotel on Park Avenue and up steep feel the burn staircases in Harlem. NYCBA has opened my world up to a diverse beekeeping community through the shared passion of bees and all things bee related. What a sweet world it is turning out to bee ;)

To learn more about NYCBA's Urban Beekeeping Apprenticeship, please visit our program page or reach out to

Photos by Teresa Yost.