Do you realise that the fate of our natural food sources rests on the tiny shoulders of the bee?
You might have heard that the world’s bee population is drastically dropping. But did you realise that the consequences of this could be devastating to our food sources.
Bees are responsible for the pollination of plants, including our food crops. Without this process, the crops would not produce the food that we need them too. This could be catastrophic for the world, as we can’t function very well without food.
All hope is not lost, you can do your part to save the dwindling bee population by becoming an Urban Beekeeper.
What Is An Urban BeeKeeper?
An Urban Beekeeper is exactly as it sounds. It is someone that keeps bees in their home. So instead of hives being relegated to far-off fields, they are popping up in backyards, in subdivisions and in rooftop gardens.
People are interested in reversing the effects that pesticides have had on bee numbers. Instead of being scared of these yellow and black striped creatures, people are embracing them for the good that they can do.
Urban beekeeping is becoming quite popular, even in places you wouldn’t expect it. London has seen more than a 200% increase in beekeepers in recent years.
Can I Become An Urban Beekeeper?
If you want to become a beekeeper, then you will need to check out the regulations of your local council. They will have stipulations on where you can keep bees, how many hives you can have, whether your yard needs to be fenced or not, and if you need certifications to operate.
What Do I Need?
There is a bit of skill involved in becoming a beekeeper, you can’t just throw a hive box in the backyard and expect magic to happen.
You will need a few supplies:
- White wooden hive boxes (white keeps them cooler in summer)
- A wooden or block base to keep your hive off the ground
- Frames that have a beeswax foundation
- A full bee suit - including helmet, gloves, and boot bands
- A smoker
- Hive tools - like a brush and grips
- Most importantly… bees!
It is best to start small with a couple of hives so that you can see if beekeeping is really for you. For 2 hives, you will need 6 pounds of bees (3 pounds for each). You can order your bees online, or check with your local associations on where to purchase closer to home.
The best time to start is in spring when the weather is beginning to warm up and there are no pending frosts.
Try not to harvest any honey in the first year, leave it to your bees until they become established. Then in the following years you will be able to regularly harvest the honey without disrupting the bees.
Your local beekeeping organisations will be full of experts who are only too happy to share their knowledge and best tips. They will be able to help you get started in those early months.
Beekeeping is an interesting and unique hobby that has two great benefits. One is that you get delicious honey fresh from the source, and the second is that you get to do your part for saving our environment!