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Visiting my friendly local apiary

By Karina | June 6, 2011

I had a great trip out to a friends house (pictured!) this weekend to hang out and get a taste of what it’s like to have beehives in your backyard. I would LOVE beehives – I think they are so neat, and I love to eat honey, and of course I would really like to keep bees! My grandmother did, and it was so neat to always have local honey that she had robbed herself to enjoy. And the elephant in the corner is that it would be lovely to support bee populations by caring for a hive or two. We live in a village full of well kept flowered lawns that is close to some serious ruralness, so I’m sure the bees would have no problem finding food, too.

There are a lot of things to consider when really figuring out if I should keep bees. First, of course, was if my partner was ok with it. When I asked him how he felt about the bee visit he said “It was pretty cool, and nifty to stand there not worrying about flying zappers.” We brought Seven with us, and he was a tiny bit nervous (real nervous, not the play nervous he usually is) but as the visit went on he got less real nervous and more real demanding to be held on shoulders for better views. As we left the clearing with the hives he had two bees climbing on him – one on his foot, and one on his bare leg (!!) and he was perfectly calm as I gently removed them.

Other concerns are the cost – this page estimates that it will cost about $500 to start up one hive; the placement – we don’t have a lot of low trees to shade and protect hives in our yard, and I’m not sure if that would matter; and of course there’s the chance that our neighbors will freak out if they learn of our bees. Lots of people are scared of bees, you know.

The most important concern is the TIME. It’s no secret that I have a lot on my plate, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure – especially when there’s other living beings involved. I found this amazing bee-keeping calender, though, [via sustainahillbilly - what a great name!] that lists the amount of time

Our visit with the bees was so cool – we got to spend time with some friends in a really neat and interesting way, and I learned a lot. We saw some of the hard parts of keeping bees (which reminded me of my problems maintaining a healthy worm bin) and some of the good parts. I think I need to read a lot more about bee keeping – but it definately sounds like something I can and should get into thoughtfully and purposefully.

Have you got experience with beekeeping, or an interest in it?

Topics: Food | 1 Comment »

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1 Comment

Comment by Brenda
2011-06-07 00:43:11

I keep bees and I love having them.

It can be expensive to get started as you saw but there are options. One thing you might consider is letting a beek keep a hive in your yard in exchange for mentoring and a share of the honey.

You will see information on Top Bar Hives but I don’t recommend them. They are harder to harvest and while the initial outlay is less they can be difficult.

Don’t worry about not having shade, sun is very important. Too much shade can be deadly.

 

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