March 8, 2009

We’re going to become beekeepers.  I bought us a beginning beekeeping kit for Christmas and this weekend we attended a beginning beekeepers workshop and a local beekeepers association meeting. Both were great. Our 13 yr old son came with us to the workshop (voluntarily, the 9 year old daughter chose not to come, and 3 hours would have been a long time for her to sit still).  My son said it was interesting and that he’d had a good day, and for a 13 year old to have a good day is always a challenge.  We all learned a lot, got excited, and most importantly, met nice and helpful people.  

At the workshop yesterday, about 1/2 way through, the man next to me asked where I was from.  Now you need to realize that this workshop attracted people from at least 3 different counties and was held 30 miles from my home.  This man is from the town next to ours – – small world.  We’ll be getting together with him when our bees and his bees come in – watch, help, learn.

So what do bees have to do with being green?  First, they are great pollinators and here in ag-land we need pollinators, especially since the evidence suggests wild bees are on the decline.  Second, they are the only source of honey – so there is nothing more local than honey from your own backyard.  Third, bee’s wax.  Bee’s wax candles are pure natural and do not involve any petroleum products as parafin does.  You can also use bee’s wax for lip balms and skin creams, or for making little wax figures or who knows what else..

From what I’ve read about beekeeping it is getting greener by the minute too.  Apparently it used to be common practice to use all sorts of chemicals on the colonies in an effort to keep down mites, viruses, and parasites.  And then came CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) which is wiping out an increasing number of colonies.  We don’t know what causes CCD, one possiblity is that all the stressors combined are just too much for some bees.  So the best practices approach now seems to be as few chemicals as possible and more non-chemical pest and hive management. 

I’ll keep you posted on the success of our foray into beekeeping.



  1. Did someone say beeswax for beeswax ornaments?

    Have you looked into posting your blog on Kindle, though there is quite a backlog.

    There are quite a few backyard beekeepers in new york The small keepers did not have hive collapses like the bigger producers. Maybe small colonies are less stressed.

  2. This is neat! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. We are in orchard country, so bees are very important here too (and there are good local sources of honey). The Seattle paper did a series on honey importing and the lack of monitoring and accurate labeling – makes you want to know for sure where it’s coming from. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/honey/

    • Thanks for the link – pretty scary. Another excuse for me to try to stick with local honey (or my friend’s honey from NY) – with some luck, by this fall we’ll be using only our own honey.

  3. How cool – especially that your son is interested and going to help you! And you know your garden will have good pollination this year. Looking forward to hearing more about the little workers in your yard.

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