Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Going to Keep Bees..in My Suburban Yard!


My husband and I have been talking to Neo-agrarian about it, and we think we're going to keep bees too. No, it is not crazy. No, it is not dangerous. The bees are already out and about, you know. By keeping a hive in our yard, we would just be supplying them with a home and they could feel safe and do their bee thing and make honey that they would share with us. OK. We'd take it from them, but we would be grateful and we would be sure to leave plenty for them too.

We will not use a skep as pictured above and was used extensively in Europe for centuries. Although, doesn't that look idyllic in a garden with bees buzzing about? Instead, we will use a top bar system--the bees will make their hives free form hanging down from wooden slats at the top in a box. It's easier to harvest the honey, they make less and we don't need the amount made in larger commercial hives.

Top Bar Hive Filling up With Bees Building Honeycomb

I've already realized some of the health benefits of raw honey and it's pretty darn delicious besides.

I've just looked at this site and it is filled with comprehensive information about Top Bar Hives. There is a lot of information out there. I think we will easily get help with all of this.

Do any of you keep bees? Do you know anyone that keeps bees? What can you tell me about it? What should I keep in mind? How has it worked out for you? How much honey have your bees generated, with how many hives?

Who knew that a suburban yard could be a space of workable, arable land? What says that our yards must only be showcases of stretches of Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine-leaf Fescue and nothing else? Why can't we have bees buzzing in and out of our yard and landing on our strawberry blossoms and raspberry blossoms and echinacea and any other flower in a 3 mile radius? Who thinks our yard has to look the same and serve the same functions as every other yard in our suburban neighborhood in Very-Republican-Town, Illinois?

Says who?


DoulaMomma said...

Have you heard about the Edible Estates project?
I helped with this one:

My own yard has no bees & just some herbs & tomatoes, but I do have a bat house & a sculpture of a female figure complete with uterus & ovaries!

Laura said...

doulamomma, could you write out that link again? It got cut off.

I've also been wanting to have a bat house. Do you have to hang it very high up? What do you need for that?

DoulaMomma said...

OK - I tried to make it smaller:

here's the original link:

if that doesn't work, google "edible estates" & click on #3 Maplewood, NJ

Bat houses: We installed our high up on a tree but I'm not sure it faces the right direction to get sun & heat up...lots of instructions out there for how to hang & even plans to make your own house (we bought ours)

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

The information on http://www.backayrdhive.com might help, we have over 1500 people that have started caring for bees. There is lots 'o information about how to get started.

Backyard bees are so important!
Hope this helps,

Laura said...

Thanks so much Karen. I'll go check that out.

Mama bee said...

Ooh, exciting! I've never seen one of those top bar setups - looks neat.

Do you have to wait until spring to start your hive?

Laura said...

Hi mama bee,

Yes, I think we will wait until Spring. We're not going to buy the hive (Compact...even though this is food!)my husband is going to build the top bar hive and he needs to research that a bit.

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