A proposed hike to the registration fee for Akron beekeepers was withdrawn by the Akron City Council earlier this year after protests from members of the local food-based and agricultural organizations.
The council stated that its aim is to develop policies that best serve the community, and the pushback from the community reveals just how popular beekeeping has become locally — over 200 beekeepers were registered throughout Summit County in 2014. And beekeeping can be a very rewarding pursuit.
As bees work in harmony with the environment, so local beekeeping projects thrive with the help of business partnerships. In return for space for their hives at local business premises, ventures like Urban Honey Bee provide educational programs as well as donating honey to sell at the Summit Lake Farmers Market.
Creating inviting habitats
Along with producing honey, bees play a vital role in modern farming systems across the United States and they are key pollinators of many valuable Ohio crops, such as pumpkins, cucumbers, and apples. With a decline in bee populations over the last few years, it’s become more important to create suitable habitats for bees and butterflies in order to increase their numbers, and this is exactly what the Ohio Department of Transportation has done. After an initiative four years ago to plant wildflowers along highway medians, the ODOT is now cutting back on mowing the roadsides in an effort to help restore native plants and pollinators to the state.
Observing and protecting bees
Getting more involved with local observation and protection of bees is easy. The University of Akron is part of a cooperative running the Ohio Bee Atlas, a project established to create a record of bees in the area and they welcome details of observations, coordinates, and photos of sightings.
For information about becoming a beekeeper, the Ohio State Beekeepers Association and the Summit County Beekeepers Association both run beginners classes and give talks on the subject in and around Akron.
The thriving community of people interested in bees and beekeeping in the local area is a great example of cooperation and collaboration between different organizations and ventures, and shows how working together can improve the environment for residents and the local bee population.