Lots of people have heard about the Bee Colony Collapse Epidemic and are wondering what they can do about it.  The quick and easy answer is: Start your Own Hive.  It’s much simpler to do and easier to start than you think.  A few tips for your beekeeping…

1. Check your local ordinances

This is one I learned from personal experience. Even if you think your town is more enlightened than most; don’t risk it, check with the Village to see if they allow it. If not, work to get the ordinance changed and THEN start a hive.

2. Make sure you have the right spot for a hive

You don’t want your bees to be a nuisance to your neighbors. The best way to think about it is this: the hive is the airport and the bees are the planes and they do not vary from their flight path. That means you need to position it correctly. Don’t have it facing a door or at your neighbors pool. Screening helps; tall hedges, some sort of material or even a structure will do. Find the morning sun and there you have it: the spot for your hive.

3. Don’t be intimidated: it’s easy

Do enough research to feel comfortable and then just go for it. Bees are one of the easiest animals to keep and they provide one of the best returns on your time: pure 100% organic honey. It’s a hobby I enjoy with my whole family. We love it!

4. Start now

Order your hive and the package of bees now. It takes a while to get up and running and you want to be ready when the weather breaks. One of the most thrilling times in beekeeping is when you get the first package of bees. I’ll never forget it.

5. Order the protective gear and wear it

No need to be a hero. You should always practice safe beekeeping. Once you learn your bee’s habits you will feel more confident around them and start reducing the amount of protection you wear; and then you will get stung. Forget that; suit up!

6. Join the Community

There is a large and ever-growing community of Backyard Beekeepers in the Chicagoland area. Go on line to the chat rooms or email a local association to start making connections. This is where you will find the answers to all of your questions.

Have Fun! It’s a blast and something completely different than what you’re used to. Opening up an active bee hive and poking your head in pretty much defines ‘going outside of your comfort zone’. And you can do it all from the comfort of your own backyard.

Did I miss anything? Share your favorite tips and tricks to beekeeping for suburbanites!