It came across my desk yesterday in an email that I was copied on.
I ordered one package of bees with marked & clipped queen ($125). Laura
Weaver says to expect them to be ready for pickup by May 1. She also said
Dave’s order may be delayed a week because of the current cold weather
that’s affecting the queen’s arrival (my interpretation). In any case, arrival
date isn’t important to me. I’ll be ready with my hive.—Jeff”
Jeff is my husband, Rick Low is our neighbor and Dave Coufal is another neighbor. And this was the first I'd heard of us becoming backyard beekeepers. I hope I’m not outing anyone here and that both Rick and Dave have let their families in on this venture in community beekeeping springing up literally in our own backyard. Making my way to my husband’s home office down the hall from my home office, I ask, “Are you serious? Are we going to have bees in our backyard?” I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that.
Jeff reminds me that I had already given my blessing to raise chickens. “This will be much easier than taking care of a flock,” he says, also reminding me of my call-to-action to our readers to take up beekeeping as a way to repopulate the disappearing bee populations and save our food system. “It will be good for our garden and we have the perfect eastern exposure for the hives,” he continues. “There’s no downside to this. I assumed that you of all people would be on board.”
I think this started with our friend Mark Edwards working in Jeff’s woodshop last spring to build wooden hives for his new bees. And then we tasted the honey.
Now’s the time to order your bees, especially if you have fruit trees that will be blooming soon, like Dave does. Hives can be hosted in school gardens, church gardens, community gardens and, of course, in your own backyard (or your neighbor’s). Local urban farmers are already hip to this. In fact, I'll go as far as saying that it’s the new food trend in Austin. Honey with your home-grown vegetables and eggs?
After a few more minutes of contemplating what could possibly be problematic about this scenario, I realize that I’m getting excited. And May 1 seems like an awfully long time away for getting started, but first there are hives to be built.
P.S. Here are some helpful references:
Learning Beekeeping (learningbeekeeping.com)
BeeWeaver Apiaries (beeweaver.com)
How To Guide for BeeWeaver Queens & Bees
866-547-3376 (M-Th, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.)