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The garden world is buzzing about this season's hottest trend: your own personal backyard hive
These bees could be hard at work, making honey and pollinating plants in your own garden
Last summer, my coolest friend sponsored a hive. Every time I sipped sangria on her luxurious outdoor sofa, I would gaze enviously at the hive on the side of her garden, watching the bees arriving then swiftly departing to conduct their bee business.
More desirable than water features and fire pits, the addition of a hive increases the pollination of your fruit and berry crops, ensuring better yields. And there is the added benefit of enjoying local honey from your own garden at the end of the season.
3B Honeybee is a Langley company that will help make your hive aspirations a reality. Bryn Jones and Art Barker will not only deliver a hive to your garden, but will also check and maintain the colony on a biweekly basis, gather the honey, and then provide you with a litre of honey from your own hive. And right now, they are looking for gardeners in the GVRD to sponsor a hive in 2013.
“Ideally, we are looking for potential locations that are private and protected for the bees, have plenty of plants in the neighbourhood and a source of water near the hive,” says Jones. “Having a lot of flowers nearby is not necessary, as scientists claim that bees regularly fly in a 2- 3km radius to find food.”
Another local beekeeper, Melissa Cartwright from Mellifera Bees, also places her hives in urban locations within the City of Vancouver. She produces and sells artisanal honey from her hives (set up at three different Vancouver locations), including two hives on the roof of Le Marché St. George.
Keeping a hive in your backyard will keep your flowers well-pollinated (Image: Flickr / jbaker5)
In her four years as a beekeeper, Cartwright has noticed a huge increase in interest and awareness about all facets of beekeeping: in the way bees operate, the challenges bees are facing, and in the health benefits of consuming local honey.
“People are now developing a better appreciation of honey bees and how important they are to the environment,” Cartwright states. “I see people purchasing honey in order to support local food production as well as supporting the health and existence of honey bees.”
For those interested in supporting bees, 3B delivers their hives to urban spaces in April/May after the bees are finished pollinating the Fraser Valley Blueberry crops, and the hives remain in place until mid-September.
“Once they are settled in their new location, the bees will establish a flight path that they use to travel to and from the hive,” says Barker from 3B. This “Bee Highway” (as my cool friend called it), is an area about six feet in front of the hive. It is best that this area is left clear so that the bees can come and go without interference.
“Bees, if left undisturbed, will focus only on their work. You are able to approach the hive and watch the bees.”
Beekeepers from 3B help a family set up a hive in their burnaby backyard (Images: 3B Honeybee Company)
Sponsoring a hive from 3B Honeybee is easy. The cost is $185 for one year and includes the hive, biweekly visits from the beekeepers, an opportunity to learn more about bees, enhanced pollination of your fruits and vegetables, and one litre of honey from your hive. To be placed on a 3B Host list for 2013 please email Barker and Jones at info@3BHoneybee.ca with your address and contact information, and the subject heading “Hive Host.”
For those who just want the taste of local honey without the bees, Mellifera Honey is available from the Mellifera website and from many locations around the Lower Mainland, including Le Marché St. George.
Happy bee keeping!