Growth of urban beginner beekeepers

Over the past few years there has been a bloom of urban beekeepers in Australia and around the world.

The launch of our revolutionary Flow technology– which makes honey harvesting easier both for the beekeeper and the bees– has helped to contribute to this increased interest, along with a general rise in awareness of the value of bees in our food cycle and a desire to be more connected to our food supply.

Indeed, the growth of community and school food gardens, farmers’ markets, and the slow food movement are also linked to our desire to be more in touch with what we consume to nurture our bodies.

“We’ve grown in last 3-4 years from around 150 to just under 500 members. This increase is not entirely due to Flow– there was an alchemy around people realising there was an issue around bees declining, plus we had an influx of new member when Flow Hive went live. The two combined have allowed people to rediscover beekeeping.”

–Cormac, President, Beekeepers Association of the ACT and Head Beekeeper, Parliament of Australia

One third of the world’s food crops and 90 percent of native plants are dependent upon pollination by honey bees; as well as other native pollinators.

Honey bees and other pollinators are facing immense pressure worldwide– increase in pests and diseases, decrease of available nutrient-rich food sources due to modernised agriculture, and land clearing– are all impacting their survival. Add to this the increase in pesticides and insecticides (which, when incorrectly used, can have toxic effect upon bees and other pollinators) this equates to bad things for our food, and for the ecosystem at large.

“More people are realising that bee populations are under threat, and humans are largely the cause.”

-Indira Naidoo​, author of The Edible City

The bloom of new beginner beekeepers is a wonderful thing for bees and the beekeeping community. New beekeepers often bring an immense amount of enthusiasm, drive to learn, and passion for this new-found hobby.

“The thing that is really good about teaching new beekeepers is their excitement and engagement and their thirst for knowledge– they really want to know how to do this properly and they are so grateful for us for sharing our knowledge with them."

–Andrew Wootton, Secretary of The Beekeepers Club, Doncaster, Melbourne

Concern for the environment is initial motivation

Many of the comments on our Forum, Instagram and Facebook express that people first start beekeeping for environmental concerns, but they get hooked because it’s a rewarding and fascinating experience.

Reduces stress

In our Meet the Beekeeper videos one beekeeper said “what I love about it is you can be on your own or share it with family and friends. I used to be in finance—high stress and high energy environment—but now I just love to sit and watch my girls come and go. It’s really quite peaceful”.

Another urban beekeeper said: “My favourite part is that I’m constantly learning new things every day! I did a beekeeping course and I’m still always learning. There are struggles when you first start out—little setbacks—but the course gave me a lot of confidence and I had people I could ask questions.”

Skilling up

"They’ve rapidly developed skills– you can see them coming along and asking really intelligent questions at our club meetings, they are clearly going to go on to become really good beekeepers.”

–Andrew Wootton, Secretary of The Beekeepers Club, Doncaster, Melbourne

So if you are lucky enough to have a patch of the world to call your own—a community garden or rooftop where you could keep a hive—bees bring the possibility of increasing your food production by pollination.

As you step into the world of urban beekeeping, we recommend you develop as much knowledge as possible:

  • start asking questions in our Flow Forum
  • check out our great tips for Getting Started 
  • join your local beekeeping club  
  • learn from people more experienced within your region — weather and environment play a huge role in the management of your bees… but don’t be surprised if you get lots of different opinions! At Flow HQ we like to say “ask two beekeepers for advice and you’ll get three different opinions!”
Some of the more unexpected places you’ll find a Flow Hive:
  • the Hague
  • Parliament House in Canberra
  • Government House in Sydney
  • universities across several continents
  • on a rooftop in downtown LA, Seoul, Melbourne, Perth (and lots of other cities too)
  • in the gardens of the rich or famous - like Helen Mirren, Bridget Fonda and Garrett McNamara
  • … even in the gardens of a former US president!

Schools, urban rooftops and gardens, and in the bush too- you’ll find Flow Hives everywhere.