Hobby Farming

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.

close-up of a bee on a purple flower

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!

7 thoughts on “Hobby Farming”

  1. Oh man… I have a ridiculous fear of bees/ wasps/ hornets, etc. Tell you what? You take the bees, I’ll get a pet chicken & goat instead. 🙂

  2. I got a bee inside my shirt while I was riding last weekend and it stung me 3 times before I could stop. I love bees too!!

  3. I got a bee caught in the chin strap of my helmet last weekend, nice little fella gave me a “kiss”. You know who tried to run it over when it fell out at a stop sign. I don’t think I would invite him to your little bee hive!

    1. Al, did you and my baby brother deliberately drive through a hive or something??? Glad you guys had a nice ride otherwise!

  4. I think so as Kev’s pig had a few stuck to the grill. Great ride, outstanding company and an even crazier hangover. Its been way too long. It was great seeing your folks also.

  5. My husband thought this would be a good idea and set up a hive. He had been stung many times before so thought it was no big deal. A bee went down his shirt, stung him near his neck and he had a severe reaction. It must have hit a vein or something. Needless to say, the hive is gone now.

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