Yes, as it sounds. Locate hives in the greenery of cemeteries, in those areas dedicated to bury our loved ones, which in many countries are equipped with spacious and maintained green areas. If urban beekeeping love urban gardens, why not include bees in a well-kept cemetery with sufficient resources of honey and nectar?
We start with the cemetery of St. Paul in Baltimore (USA). There, next to the graves of relevant persons, sucha as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a defender of Fort Henry or several generals of the Civil War, we can find bees flying. It was in 2011 when employees and students of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, laid the first hive. This action was part of a project that sought to enrich the university students with outside activities, such as producing their own honey. According to responsibles of this project, urban landscapes offer opportunities to bees for good quantities of pollen and nectar provided by clover, flowers of linden or dandelion. In spring, about 25 students worked on the assembly and painting of two hives. The first inhabitants of the colony were received by mail. All together, hives, bees and equipment costing less than $ 1,000. Another objective of the project is to demonstrate to students that beekeeping can be environmentally sustainable. Source: Baltimore sun.
Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati (USA),opened in 1845, is not only a cemetery, but is also included in the Register of Historic Places and is a Victorian botanical park. In its 300 hectares includes about 1200 species of trees and plants. Such a wide surface allows citizens celebrate every year popular marathons, using their beautiful wedding chapels or gardens in volunteer programs … and yes, even locating bee hives. In 2010 the beekeeper biology professor Gene Kritsky settled there half a dozen beehives.
Crossing the Atlantic, we have found four examples of apiaries in French cemeteries. Something quite logical since France have a strong commitment to urban beekeeping, especially for outreach programs. Thus, we can find hives in the garden cemetery Péronnière of La Roche-sur-Yon. The project, started in 2010, aimed to raise awareness about the importance of these pollinators. An association of local beekeepers, with the support of the municipality, is responsible for checking the hives every two weeks in this cemetery of 34 acres.
In 2011, while biodiversity and management of green spaces was improved, a hive was installed in the cemetery of Fontainebleau, close to the forest. This first colony was followed by five others, managed by a local beekeeper.
Since 2013, in Mennecy, students from Lycée Marie Laurencin Biotechnology learn genetics and hybridization of bees in four hives placed in the cemetery. The site was chosen for its tranquility and proximity to high school. The project was initially a little disappointing because all colonies disappeared, possibly due to pesticides used in the area. But the project goes ahead and even has already led to some vocations. It is the case of a student who wants to become a doctor and combine their studies with apitherapy.
In the cemetery of Joncherolles (l’Ile-de-France), in 2014, five hives were placed in an area of 17 hectares with trees and shrubs, non treated with pesticides. This work is part of a larger project that aims to create, develop and promote an apiary to raise awareness about biodiversity through knowledge of bees.
And, of course, along with these projects orchestrated by various public and private entities, we can also find the conquest of cemeteries instinctively by bees. In times of swarming, you can find groups of bees in the most unimaginable places, including Péron family tomb in the cemetery of Locmélar (France). The fact that one of the deceased buried there have the same name as Hervé Péron, the soul of the apiary-school agricultural school in Nivot in Lopérec, less than 30 km, was a disturbing coincidence.
The blog of firefighters in Zaragoza (Spain) also relates how firefighters evacuated a bee swarm from a tomb and look for a better location. It was in October 2012 and firefighters sought and alternative accommodation for bees, yes, out of the niche.
And within the popular anecdotes, we can find stories in the local press about the presence of swarms of bees at funerals, causing panic among the participants,and explaining with particular detail the number of stings suffered by people and which part of the body was affected. Other news realize that the swarm accompanied the family until burial. We could overcome even at 1901 event, which tells of the flight of the gravediggers when they were stung by bees, trying to place the coffin in the hole.
In another of these curious news, it was found that under the roof of a church honey bees had stored their honey, which was collected by the parish and with honeysales swell their coffers.