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Arts & Life

Beekeeping Isn't Just For Professionals, Here's How To Do It

Todd Martin
Flickr - Creative Commons

Many of us think of a garden as a variety of plants and flowers, but those flowering plants wouldn’t produce fruit without bees. Adding a hive of honeybees to your garden is a win-win scenario for your veggies and for the bees. Plus you get a year-long supply of honey to satisfy your cravings.

Starting a hive is fairly simple. You need boxes to hold the beeswax frames with a bottom and top board to keep the hive warm on colder nights. Protective clothing with arm length gloves, a hat and veil are essential. A pry bar to pull out the sticky frames and a smoker to distract the bees are also handy. All that's left are the queen and a couple pounds of bees you can order online.

Before starting check local and state ordinances as your new hive may need to be registered. In some cities it's illegal to keep hives; but you may be able to find a few square feet in the country. These laws exist to protect healthy bees from diseased hives which can kill entire colonies if left unchecked. 

Check with your neighbors to be sure no one is hypersensitive to bee stings. It's inevitable when there are 40,000 bees in a hive a bee is going to sting someone eventually. To alleviate any concern from neighbors, find an out-of-the-way place in the garden and screen the hive with tall plants so they can observe from a safe distance. 

The teamwork of these little pollen gatherers is fascinating to watch and the amount of honey you harvest will be more than enough. A pint or quart here and there for neighbors, friends and family will still leave you with plenty to satisfy your own cravings.    

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