Put simply, bees love Vienna. The countless meadows, trees, parks, gardens, roadside verges, balconies and green rooftops provide a constant, yet ever-changing palette of blossoming flowers for the insects to feed on. Temperatures also remain higher for longer in the city than in rural areas. Vienna is home to more than 5,300 different bee populations, which are tended to by a total of some 600 beekeepers. There is even a special association, the Stadt-Imker (urban beekeepers), which is dedicated to monitoring and managing the various hives in the capital.
Vienna's bees have taken up residence at some unusual locations in the city, many of them well-known landmarks. The State Opera House, the Burgtheater and the Museum of Natural History all have bee populations on their roofs, and there are hives on the terraces of the Vienna General Hospital (AKH). The Austrian Horticultural Museum in the 22nd district has an apiary and produces its own honey, while around 130 different species of bees have been counted at the University of Vienna's botanical gardens in the third district.
Honey lovers will find countless specialist stores carrying products made from the fruits of these hard-working creatures' labor. Wald und Wiese has two shops in the seventh district, which stock just about every type of honey imaginable alongside propolis candies, honey bear chews and beeswax candles. The 2011 harvest from the State Opera House and the Burgtheater is marketed by former purveyor to the imperial court, Gerstner - samples are available from the interval buffet while stocks last.
- Stadtimker, Christophgasse 4, 1050 Vienna, www.stadtimker.at
- Austrian Horticultural Museum (Österreichisches Gartenbaumuseum), Siebeckstrasse 14, 1220 Vienna
- Botanic garden in the grounds of the Belvedere Palace, Mechelgasse/Prätoriusgasse, 1030 Vienna
- Wald und Wiese, Kaiserstrasse 33 + Neubaugasse 26, 1070 Vienna, www.waldundwiese.at
- Gerstner K&K Hofzuckerbäckerei, Kärntner Strasse 13-15, 1010 Vienna, www.gerstner.at