Bee numbers are decreasing all over the world, including in Germany, where disease, mites and the use of insecticides have halved bee populations since the 1980s.
In Germany the problem is exacerbated by the increase in the age profile of beekeepers, which meant that the art of beekeeping was starting to die out – bad news for the environment, as bees pollinate about 80 per cent of all flowers including vegetable, fruit crops and deciduous trees.
Surprisingly, cities can play a key role in boosting bees’ numbers. With their diverse range of plant life and milder climates, they can actually provide better habitats for bees than rural areas, where monoculture farming is detrimental to their health.
The last few years has seen a huge resurgence of interest in urban beekeeping worldwide, and there are now 570 apiarists in Berlin alone.
Sinead O’Shea meets some of the enthusiastic new converts in the German capital who are helping to revive beekeeping.