Bees, if you please
backyard bee keeping
So, now back to gardening. Although not everyone is prepared for backyard bee-keeping, rest assured it’s simpler than it might seem & stings are (although not uncommon) rarer than expected & something to be proud of. Some of us haven’t even been stung…

The benefits of keeping bees are countless & possibly unknown, not unlike breastmilk for infants, bees are an essential part of life that fill rolls we don’t even know exist. Their effects on our own garden last year were innumerable. It’s doubtful there was one blossom that remained un-pollinated or one bloom left untouched. As a result we were blessed with LOADS of produce from apples & tomatoes to carrots & hot peppers, much of which we canned & preserved in a myriad of ways.

BEWARE: To begin bee-keeping is to unleash an obsession-atleast for most. It is a hobby started to get some free honey and enjoy a low-maintence livestoc
k. It becomes a passion. We are now familiar with MANY sides of bee-keeping, from maintaining a healthy & organic hive to building bodies & nucs, feeding, using products, catching swarms and beyond.

urban bee keeping
Here are the hive & nuc Drew & Lane built.
Naomi is helping him paint them traditional white.

It’s important to note what a learning tool beekeeping is. Naomi is somewhat of an expert & will get her own mini beekeeper helmet this year. There are great books to encourage children, even if you don’t have your own hives. This is one of our faves. And for adults, this is the best.

If you do wish to keep bees now is the time to begin preparation.

First–reserve a hive by ordering now. Come April, most bees will be spoken for. There are local places to go pic up your own bees (email for more details) and there are many mail-order options as well.

Second–order, build, get a hive! You’ll need (most likely) 2 hive bodys, 2 supers (where honey is collected) a bottom board and a place to keep them. Bee-hive kits are available & is how we purchased our first 2 hives–grea t for beginners. Some strategy is needed as to where bees are placed, but avoid direct sunlight in the summer and extreme shadow in the winter.

There is so much to learn, but the best way is to go for it. You won’t know it all & everyone has different concepts–it’s an art form!
Join the Guilford Beekeepers Forum for lively discussion. It’s a terrific resource! Also, consider the local Master Beekeepers program.

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