updated 6/23/2009 6:42:41 PM ET 2009-06-23T22:42:41

New York City always buzzes with activity. It appears urban beekeeping is contributing.

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Keeping beehives in New York City is illegal under a law that bans them alongside venomous snakes, ferrets and elephants. But beekeepers have secretly tended to them for years in backyards and on rooftops.

Now the beekeepers want the rules changed and their pastime to be legal. About a dozen rallied outside City Hall on Tuesday.

They're also supporting a Brooklyn beekeeper who was summoned to court and had her backyard hives removed.

Those in favor of beekeeping point out that honeybees help pollinate plants and flowers. They say the beekeepers are performing a public service.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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