Sweet lessons: Taiwan urban beekeeping gets positive buzz

Published April 14, 2024
STUDENTS attend an urban beekeeping class in New Taipei City.—AFP
STUDENTS attend an urban beekeeping class in New Taipei City.—AFP

TAIPEI: Under mulberry trees at a bee farm in Taipei’s suburbs, students watched intently as instructor Tsai Ming-hsien wafted smoke over a hive box, explaining to aspiring apiarists how to keep the insects happy in an urban setting.

His audience included entrepreneurs, retirees and even a six-year-old who reached eagerly for a frame pulled from the box, as Tsai demonstrated how bees can be kept calm with a smoker.

“Many join my class out of curiosity,” said the 43-year-old instructor who also heads the Bee and Wasp Conservation Association of Taiwan.

“They want to learn more about this insect, which has important economic values and a crucial role in agriculture.” Bee populations around the world are facing disaster from overuse of pesticides, predatory mites and extreme temperatures due to climate change.

That also spells catastrophe for humans, as three-quarters of the world’s main crops depend on bees to act as key pollinators.

Temperature and weather fluctuations in Taiwan have impacted honey output in recent years. From 2020 to 2021, it jumped nearly 60 per cent to 13,260 tonnes, before dropping to 9,332 tonnes the following year.

Tsai said recreational beekeeping in Taiwan has grown steadily over the past decade, with people tending about a dozen to up to 60 hive boxes in their yards or rooftop gardens. “The city is overdeveloped with less green space and declining biodiversity,” he said. “We hope this creature will act as a key to open more knowledge about nature and ecosystems.”

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...