Sandy wipes out biggest beekeeping operation in New York City
Twenty-five hives each containing around 40,000 bees were torn apart Monday night.
By Susie Cagle
Oct 30, 2012
Casualties of Hurricane Sandy included 1 million unfortunate bees at the Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard urban farming project. Twenty-five hives each containing around 40,000 bees were torn apart Monday night.
“All our hives that were out on the pier were destroyed,” said Chase Emmons, a managing partner and the chief beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange.
An additional 10 hives located on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm survived — but the loss is catastrophic for the city’s largest apiary. Emmons knew before the storm that the hives were at risk.
“There was little we could do without a Herculean effort,” he said.
What’s most heartbreaking, said Emmons, is that all of the lost hives were donated by a retired Pennsylvania beekeeper last year — so they housed extra-hearty bees with stellar genetics.
“The biggest loss is to our selective breeding genetic program. Our plan is to end up with bees that are well suited to the New York environment,” said Emmons. “This puts us back at least a year.”