For the past few weeks I’ve been looking into the ins and outs of becoming an apiarist.
That’s the fancy name for beekeeper. But what the person really is, is a bee sitter because no one really “keeps” the bees.
It all started when I bought a book about urban farming with half an idea of writing a House Proud column on the subject. This city is currently in the midst of a backyard-chicken debate. Keeping chickens and goats doesn’t interest me in the least but bees? Well, that’s something that drew my attention.
You can get started for about $500 plus the cost of a colony. You make a deal with a farmer that your bees will pollonate his crops while you offer him some honey in payment for allowing you to set up a hive and visit it every week or so. The bees do as they wish and it’s up to the beekeeper to maintain their home and collect the honey.
At the Home County Folk Festival we spoke to a young guy who does this for a living. He has about 300 hives in various parts of the region and sells honey at fairs and shows. “But what I’d really like to do is just sit and watch them all day. They’re fascinating”, he told us.
Derek is open to the idea. It’s not something I plan to leap into this year or even next, but it’s percolating in the back of my mind as an activity we might want to explore. The book I bought actually has a how-to guide for getting started and maintaining one’s own hive. It’s not only fascinating but I’ve already survived several bee stings so I know that if I got stung again it certainly wouldn’t kill me. But the beekeeper said it doesn’t happen very often anyway. And after all, Derek and I call each other “Bee” so, we already have the vernacular down pat!