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I have found several newspaper articles on how good could be urban beekeeping both for the bees and for agriculture. Today I read this one: Urban beekeeping is harming wild bees saying that urban beekeeping is harming wild pollinators. I did not find a direct link to the paper, but it is probably referring to Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife. Unfortunately I only have access to the summary of the paper.

Are there good practices that could be followed to practice urban beekeeping without harming wild life (for example avoid placing hives close to a forest...) or is it harmful in any case?

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you read the article? Did you read the article cited in the article? Did you read the comments? $\endgroup$
    – swbarnes2
    Jun 7 '18 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @swbarnes2- I couldn't find the original. Did you? I'd be interested in reading it. $\endgroup$ Jun 7 '18 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @swbarnes2 I could not access the cited paper. Today I finally managed to download the paper cited in the article. It looks like the problem (if real) has little to do with urban beekeeping and more relevant for beekeeping in protected areas. $\endgroup$
    – Mil
    Jun 8 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ AFAIK, any monoculture or similar practice by humans reduces the diversity of resources available to wild animals... That said, compared to pesticide use, which is massively depleting wild insects found rurally, beekeeping is of much lesser concern. $\endgroup$ Jan 14 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ You can sidestep the entire issue and raise native bees, sare.org/publications/managing-alternative-pollinators/… $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 13 at 13:11
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Beekeeping in urban areas often require that beekeepers supplement their colonies with feed since urban areas have, on average, very little forage available to sustain a colony year-round. There are usually very little in terms of wildlife (or wild pollinators) when it comes to urban settings. In contrast, suburban areas would have more to offer as there are often backyard gardens and unmanicured lawns that could provide food throughout the season.

The wild pollinators within suburban to rural areas are probably under the biggest threat from managed colonies, but the impact is also usually very difficult to assess. Even with the limited range of managed colonies forage (around 5km), there's usually not enough of the colonies stretched out across a wide area in such big numbers that it would out-compete with other wild pollinators. The wild pollinators are often solitary, with much greater foraging capacity. As such, they would just move away from any competing resource if they're unable to defend it themselves until the threat subsides.

Regardless of the location (urban, suburban or rural), best practices still include protecting your colonies against diseases and pests. If you don't you may end up losing your colony, or spreading diseases to other colonies or wild pollinators. Probably the most significant threat nowadays globally (except for Australia) would be Varroa Destructor. So, best practices here would include keeping on top of these mite loads to avoid it from spreading and/or overrunning your colony.

As reference, here is a visual capture of the article:

enter image description here

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