Winner of a Silver IPPY 2015

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Hives in the City tells the story of urban beekeepers working in the cities of the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. They keep their bees in surprising locations-- sometimes with surprisingly good results. But just as in other locations, bees in the cities often struggle and the beekeepers find they must work harder than ever to keep them alive. 

Follow author Alison Gillespie as she joins urban beekeepers at their unusual hives and explores the reasons behind the honey bee's troubles in an engaging narrative. As the bee season unfolds she gains insights into our society's changing relationships with pollinators, food, nature and cities.


Read an excerpt here.

About the Book

Croydon Hill 

Friends of the Earth Newsmagazine, Summer 2014.  "In Hives in the City, author Alison Gillespie travels the mid-Atlantic United States to explore the passions of urban beekeepers and to discover their roles in the fight to protect the increasingly threatened pollinators."  Q & A with the author.  

What Readers Say...

Baltimore radio talk show host Marc Steiner talks to author Alison Gillespie about her adventures with urban beekeepers.  WEAA 88.9 FM, September 2, 2014 

"Hives in the City is the perfect read for both beekeepers and the general public who care about "What's killing all the honey bees?" Seeking to answer that very question, author Alison Gillespie first takes the reader into the world of hobbyist beekeepers in the urban centers of the mid-Atlantic US.  Highlighting the important work of urban activists, researchers, and non-profit organizations, Gillespie artfully transitions to informing us what is known about colony collapse disorder (CCD) and what still eludes us, as of 2014.  The result, Hives in the City, is a clever approach to the topic of our vanishing pollinators that intrigues those of us with the drive to act as responsible stewards or our environment."

-- Suzanne Matlock, President of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild 

"This is a book a beekeeper should give to someone who wants, or better, needs to know about keeping bees in a city. I’m thinking your local government folks who make the rules, or a good neighbor that you want to stay on the good side of. It’s an easy read and a good gift."

-- Kim Flottum, Editor, Bee Culture Magazine


"This book offers an intriguing look at how city beekeepers cope with landscapes, laws, and attitudes that are often antagonistic to the notion of stinging insects.  In straightforward prose that sometimes touches on the lyrical, Gillespie provides a fair and unbiased look at the urban side of beekeeping and an especially good portrait of the personalities behind city hives. If you are interested in urban beekeeping or the people who do it, the book offers a comprehensive peek into a very different—and sometimes strange—world."

-- Rusty Burlew, Director of the Native Bee Conservancy and Author of Honey Bee Suite



"An essential read to learn about bee culture and the rise in popularity of bee keeping in east coast cities and their surrounding suburbs. Alison writes about bees from her personal perspective and those of the beekeepers and researchers she meets and learns from, providing the reader insight into their personalities and their passion for bees. If you are at all intrigued about this highly productive, buzzing insect, then read Hives in the City, an easy read for those interested in poking their head inside the hive." 

-- Jennifer Chambers, Author of Hiking Along www.hikingalong.com