So recently I had my interest has been sparked in Beekeeping and Honey Bees. As I started to read the book Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis which is a novel on the history of the honey bee. Which then led me to reading, The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum and then taking a class at the Berkeley Bio Fuel Oasis.
The beekeeping class was very interesting and a great deal at $30 because I was able to ask all the questions I had about keeping bees such at the bee cycle and how time-consuming bee keeping actually is. Ironically bee keeping turns out to be most of the year the least time-consuming insect / pet? / hobby? that I have met in a long time – with on average checking the hive once a month.
That changes during the spring and early summer as the flowers and trees begin to bloom and then you need to check the hive between once a week to every two weeks to expand the hive as needed. As winter approaches you will have to shrink the hive as the drones die and the colony also shrinks to be able to maintain themselves during the winter.
Honey Bees are key in helping pollinate the many crops and increasing crop yield. Keeping bees is great hobby in all settings – especially urban settings which was very surprising. Many people who keep bees in urban settings do so on their roofs – which is pretty dang cool but also means they must be pretty fit to get up and get down with honey laden comb.
It was also interesting to learn cool facts about honey bees and honey – such as humans have been collecting honey since the we have been living in caves – as evidenced by cave drawings that illustrate honey hunting found near Seville, Spain –
Did you know that honey is antibacterial? When used on a wound it protects it from infection and also reducing scarring – more so than even modern antibiotics. Honey has also been shown to be effective against MRSA aka “The Superbug,”antibiotic resistant staph infection.
In the Qur’an there is a chapter entitled “The Bee.” Within the chapter, two verses cover the essence of the honeybee: “And your Lord inspired the bee: build homes in mountains and trees, and in (the hives) they build for you. Then eat from all the fruits, following the design of your Lord, precisely. From their bellies comes a drink of different colors, wherein there is healing for the people. This should be (sufficient) proof for people who reflect.” (16:68-9) Which lends the Bee like the Spider a lot of religious and social significance for Muslims- its always great to be told to eat something that tastes great and has great medicinal properties.
I need to get on finding a beekeeper who is willing to have an “intern” so I can get some hands on experience.
So for those who have their interest now sparked as I did – some good resources I have included below. For those readers not located in California – simply Google – Your State and Beekeeping Association and you should find some resources nearer to you. I also highly recommend requesting catalogs from all the major beekeeping to get an idea about different pricing on everything from packaged bees to hives and the different products available.
A.I. Root Bee Culture Magazine-
Bee Culture Magazine – http://www.beeculture.com
National Associations –
American Apitherapy Society – http://www.apitherapy.org/
American Beekeeping Federation – http://www.abfnet.org/index.cfm
California’s Main Beekeeping Association –
California Beekeepers Association – http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com/
Bay Area Beekeeping Associations-
Mount Diablo Valley – Concord,CA – http://www.diablobees.org/
Alameda County Beekeeper Association – http://hive.alamedabees.org/
San Francisco Beekeepers Association – http://www.sfbee.org/
Marin County Beekeepers Association – http://marincountybeekeepers.org/
San Mateo Beekeepers Association – http://www.sanmateobee.org/
Santa Clara Beekeepers Association – http://www.beeguild.org/