Buzz surrounds return of bees to Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco 

The bees are back in town.

Eight months after an unknown person broke into the Hayes Valley Farm and sprayed pesticides in two of the three hives that housed hundreds of thousands of European honeybees, those hives will be replaced this weekend.

Jay Rosenberg, co-director of the farm, said he hopes it will be safe enough for the bees to return after a little community outreach.

"We’ll find out," he said of the question surrounding safety. "They’ll be in a clearly marked-off area, and we want to do community engagement and get community participation so they know about it. If folks don’t want bees around, we’ll be more reluctant to do it."

He said the farm hopes to replace the 200,000 honeybees killed in July. No suspect has been identified in the massacre, Rosenberg said.

Police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said the investigation is ongoing.

Instead of installing a network of cameras, a group of volunteers and community members has formed to keep a watchful eye on the farm. Included in the group, Rosenberg said, is the one person who complained about the honeybees before they were brought to the farm last May.

When the bees return, they also will have a new location to call home. Instead of being perched atop the former freeway off-ramp partially hidden from view, the hives will now be located on the former on-ramp where the pavement meets the soil.

Rosenberg said the new location is beneficial because it is better for drainage, gives the bees their preferred south and east exposure, and they will be located near the farm’s fruit forest. It’s also in view of traffic.

"When I get to the light of Octavia and Oak, I want to be able to see the hives," he said.

A welcome-back "kickoff" is scheduled for this evening with a community meeting. Farm members will attend the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association meeting to discuss the bees’ return, their location, safety and their contribution to the farm.

"I would love for the neighborhood and people to be excited about urban agriculture and the honeybees," Rosenberg said. "But I don’t want to rush it just for the sake of having bees on the farm. It has to be safe for the community and the bees."


Know your neighbors

Meeting planned to learn about honeybees’ return, location and safety:

What: Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association

When: 7 p.m. tonight

Where: Korean American Community Center, 745 Buchanan St.

Upcoming workshops: Saturday and Sunday, Hayes Valley Farm will offer honeybee education classes

Source: Hayes Valley Farm

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