Hug a Honeybee, Albuquerque. It's Pollinator Week!

Whether you're a chile farmer or chile lover... Whether you're a backyard gardener or a local fruit connoiseur, this week is for you. It's time to go hug a honeybee for National Pollinator Week.

Councilor O'Malley donned a bee veil last week to learn about local beekeeping efforts and came on down to the hives I manage as a volunteer for City Open Space. We tasted a golden buttery honey right off the comb and talked about how bees contribute to our local economy (seriously, you can't even ask the state question without honeybees). For me, it was an honor to share my hives with an elected official, especially one so concerned with quality of life in our city. Here are a few photos of "beekeeper" O'Malley and her crew:

"Beekeeper" O'Malley & her staff "Beekeeper" O'Malley
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Thanks to Councilor O'Malley, the week-long pollinator party is getting started with a honey tasting and proclamation during tonight's City Council meeting. If you're a beekeeper, friend of bees, or just a honey aficionado, come on down!

And if you can't come tonight, consider checking out these other events occuring throughout Albuquerque. And if you want to taste the 2010 Fringecrest spring vintage sometime ;-), send me a note at



There are at least 80 local beekeepers in the metro area and their carefully-tended hives are tucked everywhere from Rio Rancho to the foothills and from the South Valley to Nob Hill.

Most of us keep bees as a hobby, after work at Sandia Labs, Kirtland, UNM, CNM, APS, or running our own small businesses. Some of us keep bees as a retirement obsession and others keep bees to sell honey or pollinate fruit trees. Some of us just like to hear the hum of a healthy hive in our backyard.


You've probably heard about the crisis facing honeybee populations worldwide. Some blame the increased use of nicotine-based pesticides and others call it "colony collapse disorder." Even in Albuquerque, at least 25% of our managed bee hives have died each year recently.

Here's what you can do to help:

And yes, you can hug a honeybee ;-) Male bees, known as "drones" are stingless and very, very huggable. Well, if you're into that sort of thing.

Views: 242

Comment by Barelas Babe on June 21, 2010 at 10:49am
Such a terrifically informative post, Chantal! After reading the link about the rise of backyard beekeeping, I'm wondering whether our local laws (city, county, state) are sufficiently supportive of beekeeping?
Comment by chantal on June 21, 2010 at 1:28pm
Hey you, thanks for reading! Albuquerque's pretty forward-thinking in allowing beehives within the city limits, so that's good news. Personally, I think we could use better regulation in terms of pesticide application. For example, there are pest control companies that market themselves as "green" or "environmentally-friendly" but spray chemicals that are wildly toxic to bees, birds and fish but are also endocrine disruptors and development toxins for humans.
Comment by J. Paul Lanier on June 21, 2010 at 2:05pm
Thanks for this, especially the list of bee-friendly plants. Friday I was watching honeybees gathering pollen from Lavender. It reminded me of watching honeybees when I was a kid.
Comment by mombat on June 21, 2010 at 2:26pm
Great post! One of the joys of my yard is watching the bees on the Catmint and the Apache Plume. I also really like cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and splurging on Mrs. Meyers products, non-toxic, nice smelling and they work.
Comment by cc on June 21, 2010 at 7:00pm
I'm another who is going to bookmark and continue to enjoy this post. I am aware a little bit about the dwindling bee population and want to do what I can. The use of poisons is hard on all wildlife - do you think the ABQ City Council really could propose a ban? The list of chemicals is very important and useful. Honey ice cream? this is too good to be true.
Comment by chantal on June 21, 2010 at 7:30pm
So glad you found it informative! Let me know if I can help provide additional information -- just send me a message.

Tonight's proclamation at City Council was adorable! You should have seen the smiles on every councilor's face as we handed out tiny jars of local urban honey. Here are a few photos:

Comment by cc on June 21, 2010 at 7:35pm
Bless your all's hearts for doing that!
Comment by cc on June 21, 2010 at 7:43pm
Chantal, on our newest Protect Our Wildlife Corridors mural panel depicting bosque habitat we have 2 Bee tiles (on top of Purple Asters ... top right)

Comment by chantal on June 22, 2010 at 8:16am
Beautiful mural! Have you ever tasted Aster honey? There's a beekeeper in the foothills that grows aster specifically for its dark, musky honey. Strange but delicious.
Comment by cc on June 22, 2010 at 8:20am
So glad to know about it tho never have tried it. The only time I helped take honey out of a hive, the honey that came out was good and dark (old?) and ever since, I like dark musky honey.


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