The buzz on beekeeping


Remember a few years back, or was it only one?, when bees were supposedly going extinct and everyone freaked out because we’d have no honey or pollination?? That was some seriously scary times.? Thankfully, bees are still around and beekeeping is apparently all the rage.

Spurred in part by news of the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has decimated the nation’s commercial honeybee population and in part by the ongoing popularity of gardening, the surge reflects a rising interest around the country.

“In 20 years, I have not seen the participation in beginner classes that I’ve seen this year,” says Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture, who sends samples of his Ohio-based magazine to bee schools. “For the first time in 20 years, I’ve run out of magazines. Every year, people say, ‘Can you send five or 10 or 15?’ This year they’re saying 30 or 40.”

But what’s it like to be a beekeeper?

With buzzing bees competing with the buzz of a neighbor’s lawn mower, they pour the insects into the hive that Lamperti painted sea green and decorated with an “om” symbol. They repeat the process at Tullock’s hive near a barely budding crabapple tree, in a spot so quiet that when they load the bees their buzzing pierces the still air. Madison, wearing her bee veil, started the day declaring herself no longer afraid of bees, but now she stands back on a ridge with her mother and her sister.

“Well,” Madison confesses, “I felt a little bit scared.”

The new beekeepers must wait at least three days to open their hives to give the queen time to escape her cage and the workers time to accept her. If all goes well, by August each hive could house 60,000 honeybees.

It’s unfortunate that the article doesn’t go into the nitty gritty of beekeeping or making honey.? It’s really just a collection of quotes from random people on what sparked their interest.? And if Ulee’s Gold can’t do that then I don’t know what will. Perhaps, this classic comedy sketch with Mr. Bean and John Cleese?

Photo credit: Wiqan Ang of Boston Globe

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