Thursday, July 16, 2009

hive visit

Duke university student, Chuck Abolt, prepares to check on a colony of honey bees. He is involved with Duke's Farmhand organization and a university apiary club.

On Sunday I spent some time visiting the six honey bee hives that are being kept at Sarah Duke Gardens, by the Duke Apiary Club. Their main purpose, according to member Chuck Abolt, is to educate the community about the importance of honey bees.
Domestic and feral honey bee populations have been in decline in North America. Thankfully, an interest in beekeeping is on the rise as more and more folks wish to see and taste where their food really comes from (i.e. backyard gardens and small local farms).

Honey bees play a crucial role in pollinating fruit and vegetables. Agricultural operations of all sizes are paying good money to rent hives for the growing season. Look for my short article on beekeeping in next month's issue of Boom. It is a free monthly newspaper you can grab outside of Whole Foods, where I recently paid a king's ransom for a pound of good local clover honey. It was worth it. But considering the two hives on the left produced 120lbs of honey in a single harvest, the idea of keeping my own colony has real appeal.

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