August 10, 2011


I have been thinking about adding honeybees to our homestead for a few years now.  This summer, I have been wishing I had made the move to get my hive set up this last we are definitely going to get everything ready this Fall and Winter, so we can get bees next Spring.

Apparently crops that have an abundance of pollinators produce 30% more yield.  Now that is something I would like in my garden.   This year I have seen an abundance of honeybees, bumblebees and Mason bees in my garden, and the amount of squash that is starting to grow is living testament to that fact.

So I think I am having a bit of a pollinator obsession....I keep taking photos of them in my garden:

Bumblebee on an ice plant
Honeybee covered in pollen on a volunteer squash - probably pumpkin
Honeybee on a leek bloom
I have been reading a book on the basics of beekeeping, and one of our friends that is keeping bees again is going to let me tag along when he checks on his hive.  I have also spent the last year or so keeping up with the beekeepers at Zenger Farm via their email list.  They meet monthly at the farm, and their meetings are open to the public.  I have been trying to attend a few meetings, but this summer has been so busy, hopefully I will make it next month.  If you are not familiar with Zenger Farm, check out their website.  They are an amazing educational urban farm in SE Portland and have a variety of programs open to public participation for children and adults.

There are many types of hives, but the most popular type for those that are focusing on honey production is the Langstroth.  Top Bar and Warre type hives are considered more "natural" than the Langstroth, but from what I understand it is more difficult to gather the honey.  However, with a top bar hive you can gather whole intact honeycomb....and this is what the hubs desires.  We have a line on a beekeeping set up that is Langstroth, so we will likely start that way, and then maybe add a top bar the following year.  Each hive of honeybees produces anywhere from 60 - 100 lbs. of honey each season!

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