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Bee Sanctuaries in Detroit: Conserving Honeybees on the City’s Vacant Lots

Dead spaces no longer, these lots could help sustain life.

Land-use and acquisition concerns in Detroit usually revolve around who owns what property and how it is used to support the life of the neighborhood — and often the answers to these questions are “a millionaire” and “not very well.” But Detroit’s many wide-open spaces allow us to peer through the thin veil that separates city life from nature and ask much bigger questions about how the use of land can sustain life in general. Recent studies suggest that the vacant lots in Detroit hold great potential to conserve declining honeybee populations, and smart, local beekeepers are taking heed.

Meet Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey of Detroit Hives. Their story is more uplifting than our recent comics journalism investigation into the city’s failed Amazon bid — unless you suffer from melissaphobia (the fear of bees). But if you do, read on! Timothy and Nicole are not only helping to preserve Detroit’s population of pollinators, they’re set to convince a whole generation that honeybees are awesome.


1. Personal interview with Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey on February 9, 2018.

2. Also interesting is that the wild honeybee decline under development appears largely due to negative effects of changes in land-use on female bees. “Big city Bombus: using natural history and land-use history to find significant environmental drivers in bumble-bee declines in urban development,” Paul Glaum, Maria-Carolina Simao, Chatura Vaidya, Gordon Fitch and Benjamin Iulinao, Royal Society Open Science, May 17, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2018:

3. “Why Are the Bees Dying?” Hilary Kearney,, July 3, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2018:

Copyright Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes 2018.