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Re: Bees in the Garden

Hi Laurie,

As a former beekeeper(with a few bees still in her bonnet!), I'd first recommend that your daughter get hold of a couple of good beekeeping texts--a couple that I'd recommend are "The Hive and the Honeybee", published by Dadant and Sons, and "The ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping", published by Root.  Both of these books were my beekeeping bibles back in the 70's and 80's when I was schlepping honey.   Also, it wouldn't hurt to go to your local library, and maybe talk to someone from the local Ag. Extension.   They're sure to have some  recommendations.

FYI, the honey is the dessert---what the bears are really after is all that yummy protein in the brood chambers--the juicy pupae.  And yes, they can REALLY make a shambles out of a hive.  I had one bee yard that had about 20 hives in it one year, and a bear came through and slapped around about 5 of the hives, scattering broken equiment and bees all over the place!

Electric fence? I'm not sure that one would stop a hungry bear. They tolerate an unbelieveable number of stings in pursuit of the prize.   Perhaps one could get creative about where to locate hives.  Although it would be great to have a hive on display(like the one at Clinton CG), bees travel up to five miles for nectar and pollen, and a mile is nothing to a honeybee.  Don't laugh--maybe someone's 2nd story porch??  Or a flat roofed building(a "green rooftop" would be an awesome location!)  If you did that, you might want strong beekeepers, or an elevator in the building, because a full honey super can weigh up to 80 lbs!

Good luck.  Beekeeping is very rewarding.  Hard work at times, but always fascinating, and when you're eating the honey and burning the candles, you'll be SO satisfied!

Diane Dodge


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