Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Practical Beekeeper


Bees.  Honey.   It's time.

I love bees.   When I'm working in the veg garden in the morning, I see loads of them.   Actually I hear them first.   There are so many and they are so loud that you can hear them from the other side of the yard.

I see more bees in my veg garden than I ever did in my perennial beds.   I wonder why?   Every morning during gardening season, I go out first thing, while it's cool-ish and tend things.  I see buzzy things everywhere. 

We don't actually see a lot of honey bees.  They're rather rare compared to the bumble bees, which are the busiest pollinators in the gardens [veg and flower].  We have our share of yellow jackets and hornets and carpenter bees [which show up in the squash bed occasionally]. 

I talk to them and I'm sure they know me.  I walk through the beds and brush by dozens and dozens of bumble bees and they ignore me.  They have never bothered me in the veg garden.  And I'm thinking that maybe it's time to add a hive to the place.

We have acres of wild berry canes.   I have a good sized veg garden.  There's plenty of pollen and nectar if we can just find the honey bees.

I saw one on the studio on New Year's Day.   I take that as a good omen.  A sign from the universe.

I've been studying beekeeping on Michael Bush's blog [link on my sidebar].   He has a unique philosophy.  Work smarter, give the bees what they want, leave them alone.   He doesn't believe in spraying, etc.   It's an organic approach to beekeeping.    Let the bees do what they do best.   Don't try to manipulate the production.   Don't give them contaminated foundation, etc.     He believes that we can heal the world's bee population by letting them do what they're programmed to do and not interfering.   He calls it Lazy Beekeeping.  This is a philosophy I can get behind.     So many other books and local programs are about interventions of all kinds at every level.   Michael Bush rejects that approach completely and offers a friendlier, easier and ultimately better for the bees method of beekeeping. 

The book I got is a compilation of everything on his website.   This version is a collection of vols. I, II and III all in one hardcover book.   The first section is on beginning beekeeping, the second section is intermediate and the third is advanced beekeeping.   Each section has FAQ pages and good discussions of what not to do.  The entire collection is a complete, advanced course in every aspect of beekeeping.

I am going to treat this book like a textbook.


  1. This is going to be so exciting to hear about as you move forward! How do you get honey bees? Do you "build it and they will come ", or do you buy a few and then let them do their thing?

  2. I'm telling you, you need to write a book about all the stuff you know. You're such an engaging writer. And your pictures are fab.

  3. I think hubby's waiting until he steps down as chair before tackling this project. He barely has time to do all his gardening right now. I can't wait though! I'd love to have my own honey.


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