She waxes somewhat rhapsodic on the unique benefits of honey: "It's bactericidal, like Neosporin," she explains, "and its chemical makeup keeps it from spoiling or getting moldy." Another unique benefit of honey is its reported effect on sufferers of pollen allergies, whom Ellis encourages to take a small dose of locally-produced honey per day to "inoculate" themselves against the allergens present in surrounding flora.
But it's not just the medicinal that lures folks into apiculture. Suzi Palladino, youth program and compost education manager at the Garden for the Environment, cites her interest in urban sustainability and self-sufficiency as key to her forays into apiculture. Peter Sinton refers to the meditative state his beekeeping encourages.
"Handling bees is like tai chi," he says. "Do it with calm and grace, and bees usually do not get riled up."