I'm all fired up about bees. I took an amazing workshop on Saturday, called The Art and Craft of Sustainable Beekeeping, put on by Gord and Greg at Seldom Fools Apiculture. It was a fabulous day and the weather was good enough that we were able to go and see some real life bees from a hive that had overwintered. Gord and Greg are proponents of natural, chemical-free beekeeping using top-bar hives instead of the traditional Langstroth hives. Here's what they say on their website:
Sustainable practices are at the heart of all we do. By using good husbandry principles, no chemicals to prop up weak genetics and hives, the benefits are healthy and thriving bee colonies with more bees to pollinate local plants, gardens and crops – which means we all win.
A couple of years ago, I took another intro to beekeeping course which convinced me that I was not interested in the expense, trouble or heartbreak of conventional beekeeping. I encourage anyone who may have been similarly discouraged to check out top bar hives or natural beekeeping online and try to find a copy of the book The Barefoot Beekeeper by Phil Chandler. And if you live anywhere within range of Kingston, Ontario, do try to take a course with Gord and Greg.
I've decided that instead of scrambling to find bees for this year, I will build (or more likely, have hubby build) a hive (or two), take whatever beekeeping workshops or courses I can find, and follow the Natural Beekeeping forums online. Of course, I hope to have the opportunity to get hands on with bees at some point during the year as well. I will get my bee order in good and early, and be ready to go next May or June when the bees are. Can't wait!