How You Can Save The Bees In New Jersey
Updated: Mar 15
Curious about how you can help save the bees? You’re not alone. Bees need our help to stabilize and grow their population. Even if you live in the city, there are plenty of ways to support the bees.
On that note, we’re excited to announce that Neighborhood Compost has started an apiary! When our friend and apiarist Paolo Fiorini asked if we wanted to start a collection of beehives, how could we resist?
That said, we realize not everyone can cultivate a beehive in their backyard. So, we asked our friend and beekeeper expert, Paolo, to answer some questions. Read on to learn how you can help the bees, even if you don’t have a green space.
Interview with Paolo Fiorini
NC: How long have you been working on bee habitat and cultivation?
PF: For about two years now; me and my wife, we joined a community garden right after COVID in Jersey City. My grandparents are farmers, so I’ve always been very close to farming and agriculture. I offered to help the local beekeeper and started shadowing him. I started taking classes and learning more about bee education. After that, I got a degree in beekeeping at Cornell University.
NC: What brought you to Neighborhood Compost?
PF: After a few years of working at the community garden, we got in touch with Adi and loved what she was doing with Neighborhood Compost. I thought I should let her know that we are trying to bring back pollinators. Adi agreed to do that at the farm, so we were able to open an apiary at Neighborhood Compost.
NC: What do you like about being a beekeeper?
PF: One of the first things that my mentor taught me is “bees don’t read books.” I would get frustrated that the bees wouldn’t do what I wanted, and he said, “Bees do what they want; you can only control them to a certain point.” Even with that, being able to facilitate and support this kind of life is something that’s just amazing.
NC: Why do we need to help the bees?
PF: Because the bees still need our help. Beekeeping used to be pretty easy to do because the bees were very strong and living their own life. But now, there are a lot of pests and diseases that are causing problems, so the role of a beekeeper has become more important.
NC: What can people in urban communities do to help the bees?
PF: If you want to help bees, you don’t have to become a beekeeper. You just need to plant as many flowers as possible. By increasing the number of flowers that are available, you decrease the likelihood of bees spreading diseases to one another.
NC: What kind of flowers should I plant for bees, and when should I plant them?
PF: It’s most important to plant flowers in early spring, like in February, March and April. Bees are coming out of their winter cluster then and are in need of food resources. So having early blooming flowers is really important.
It’s also important to plant flowers in late fall to ensure bees have the food they need before the cold weather hits and they start going into their hive.
(Here is a list of the flowers honey bees need and when you should plant them.)
NC: If I live in a big city, can I still help the bees?
PF: Yes! A bee can fly up to a 3-mile radius. So even if you live in an apartment and don’t live super close to an apiary, there is a chance a bee could get to you. A bee can visit up to 2,000 flowers in one day, so even if you can plant flowers on your balcony or off your window, they might be able to get to your balcony and get some food. You can also help out at community gardens.
How Neighborhood Compost is Making A Difference
Our practices at Neighborhood Compost revolve around climate-friendly regenerative farming practices, and bees play an important role in that system. All the more reason we’re so grateful to cultivate this connection with Paolo and his beekeeping expertise.
Bees play a vital role in the circularity of our farm, and they are crucial for a successful regenerative agricultural system.
If you’d like to support our endeavors to support bees and help the planet, join Neighborhood Compost! And although we won’t have honey for another year or so, subscribers can purchase local New Jersey honey in our NC Circular Shop.
Contact us with any questions you may have!