Making honey – total involvement
Beekeeping is all the rage these days, and my friend Pam (PamJ when she comments here) is one of the many who’s become “Hooked on bees in suburbia.” That’s my story of her first year of beekeeping, including the highs, the lows, and the enormous worries that go along with it. I’m calling this the “total involvement” option because that’s what it seems to demand. I say, better Pam than me!
Making honey, with help
But for people who don’t have the time or cojones to deal with bees themselves, there are people who’ll come and tend their hive for them, for a modest fee or for just the honey. But why would you have bees if you don’t get to keep the honey? To pollinate your garden, and for the fun of having a hive without all the responsibility.
CSAs for the Honey
Taking beekeeping seriously on a community level are organizations like Baltimore Honey, which residents think of as a CSA for honey. For $45 a year, members support hives that are stratetically placed throughout the city, and receive at least a pound of micro-local honey in return. Members may or may not have a hive placed in their own yard, though – only if it’s deemed appropriate and the neighbors agree. (More about Baltimore Honey in this news article.)
Honey-less native bees are easy-peasy
And then there’s the option a D.C. gardener wrote to me about, after reading my article about honeybees:
If you’re interested in bees and helping your garden and the planet in general, and don’t want all the work of trying to raise honey bees, you can raise native pollinator bees (orchard mason bees) – all they do is look cute, pollinate, and they don’t sting! I have recently put out my cocoons and am waiting for the happy day when they peek their fuzzy little faces out from their milk carton and begin to buzz around and do their job of pollinating.