This is a picture of my friend's hive- at least a section of it. It shows a great deal of activity and the beginning of the production of honey. My friend lives about 2 blocks from me but his bees do not come in my yard despite my planting wildflowers specifically for his bees to come to.
Urban beekeeping is getting to be a rather big hobby. Pennsylvania has a backyard beekeeping organization that helps hobby beekeepers with everything they need. My friend and I attended a seminar back in early March and he picked up his package of bees in May and so far they have been doing well. He has been trying to talk me to into doing honey bees, but the hobby is rather expensive so for now I will try to attract his bees to my yard and work on keeping Mason Bees which helps in the pollination aspect but does not produce honey. They are much less expensive to keep and actually do a better job at pollination, which is really what I want for my garden. Since this is his first year, honey will probably not be harvested, but next year for sure. I am quite anxious to have a little and I am sure that it will help me as these bees will have collected pollen very locally that can be used as antibodies to combat any allergies I have.
As we, as a nation, get more and more concerned about the environment, I hope that bees will be part of that equation and more people will consider keeping them. Honeybees, although not really native to this county, have become a permanent part of our culture. The part they play in our ecosystem is very important and maintaining a hive or two could mean the difference between substandard crops and excellent crops, other factors being equal. Urban beekeeping is somewhat controversial as people in close proximity to the insects they may be allergic to can have some issues, but I think that if more people are educated on the facts of bee stings, the more accepting they will be. The fact of the matter is that the incidence of death due to a bee sting is quite low in comparison to other causes and it is often not the honeybee that stings but another similar insect such as a wasp or hornet. Bees are our friends and there is really nothing to be afraid of.