The city of Marion is generating a lot of buzz these days. A new library opening soon. The ongoing construction and renovations along 7th Avenue. But high atop the roof of a building in the middle of Uptown Marion is a different kind of buzz. The buzz of bees.

On top of the building that houses the Marion boutique Scout, is Iowa's first urban rooftop bee colony. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the hive is the creation of Kevin Conley. He's been working with bees for 20 years, first in Mount Vernon, and for the past five years in Marion. Just how many bees does Conley have up on the roof? The Gazette reports that he currently has four hives on top of the building at 725 11th Street. Each hive contains 50,000 to 60,000 bees!

As you might imagine, Conley had to get special permission for his high-level hives. A Marion ordinance allows for 2 hives at ground level, according to the Gazette. Conley eventually got the O.K. to have up to six hives on his roof. Conley stated that there are challenges to having bees in the city, including one big one. He can't use a smoker to calm the bees. He also has to battle residents using chemicals on their lawns. He told the Gazette that Roundup kills bees instantly. But there are advantages too, including flowers lasting longer because there isn't as much frost in the city.

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If you'd like to try some of Conley's Rooftop Honey brand, you can buy it at Scout in Marion, Fine Lines in Coralville, and at the Marion Farmer's Market. The Gazette reports that he's also recently launched a website with information on his products, but he isn't quite ready to take online orders. Spring and fall are the busiest bee seasons. The buzz in Marion is for real!

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