Albert Einstein is often misquoted as saying: "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." We humans have decided to return the favor of their life-sustaining contributions by relentlessly portraying bees as villains in countless B-grade horror movies, as well as tender coming-of-age classics like My Girl, in which a swarm of bees fatally attacks a young Macaulay Culkin. More positive representations, like Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie, have been few and far between.
The Queens-based beekeeper Tom Wilk, whose incredibly delicious honey we stumbled upon at the Ridgewood Market and Buttah Bakery, has had to contend with this stigma of apiphobia on many occasions. "I had a hive in this great backyard in Middle Village," Wilk explains. "The next door neighbor says, 'I'm calling the cops. I can't sit on my porch at night and smoke my cigar.'" Wilk insists such fears are unwarranted. "Honeybees stay inside the hive at night. They don't go out looking for nectar, so you can sit on your porch at night and smoke a cigar."
Honeybees have been mysteriously dying in staggering numbers in recent years and could use a bit more positivity and support from us humans. The above video will provide a glimpse into the fascinating, mysterious lives of our urban honeybee friends as well as that of the benevolent native New Yorker who cares for them.
While honeybees cost just $125 for 10,000, there is a lot of education and additional equipment needed to get into beekeeping—Wilk says, "The worst thing we could do for the honeybees is get more untrained people keeping bees because it looks cool."