Beekeeping. The New Urban Pastime?

February 28, 2012

An uncapping fork

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It’s amazing how a manual or how to book can turn you off a potential new past time or turn you into an aficionado. I never thought I would consider keeping bees, EVER, until I read Kristina Mercedes Urquhart‘s well written article in the March/April issue of Urban Farm magazine.

In her piece, Kristina covers everything from why you should not wear velvet around your bees, the right gloves to buy and why you shouldn’t eat bananas before you go to the hive. (No Joke)

And although Kristina keeps bees in the mountains of North Carolina, it is more than possible to keep bees in a city backyard. In fact, there are two companies that make kits specifically for that purpose.

The first is Omlet (which also makes urban chicken coops.) The Beehaus, Omlet’s hive can be seen here. They sell the hive and all the accoutrements you need to get honey from your bees including protective gear and instructional information.

The second is Philips. While most of us associate the Philips Company with rather mundane items such as lightbulbs, razors and toothbrushes they have developed a very stylish modern looking beehive that can be seen here.

6 Responses to “Beekeeping. The New Urban Pastime?”

  1. Emily Heath Says:

    The Mother Earth article looks good.

    The main supplier I use for equipment is Thornes – http://www.thorne.co.uk. They’re huge in the UK but I’m not sure if they post elsewhere.

    Beecraft are good for books, posters, magazines and a few other bits and pieces – http://www.bee-craft.com.

    And I got my suit, hive tool and smoker from Bee Basic – http://www.beebasic.co.uk.

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  2. Emily Heath Says:

    Of the two hive designs you’ve linked to, the Philips is a concept design which would be unlikely to work in reality, and the Omlet is a very expensive model. More basic wooden box hives, which most beekeepers use, are much cheaper.

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    • Nicole Brait Says:

      Thank you for your comment. Like I said in my post I’ve never kept bees. I just linked to those two hives because they seemed like an easy way to get started keeping bees in an urban environment. Can you buy less expensive kits that are easy to get started with?
      Also I saw some references listed with one of the posts on your blog. Is there one that you would recommend for beginner bee keepers?

      I would like to recommend your post 6th Honey bee Management revision post: the year’s work in the apiary(July to December) on your site. It seemed very informative.

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      • Emily Heath Says:

        Thanks Nicole. I know good hive suppliers in the UK who supply cheap beginner hive kits, but I’m not sure who the good US suppliers are.

        Same goes for books really, beekeeping is quite a local thing as the local climate and available forage influences the timings of everything, your weather is very different to mine so it’s tricky recommending books. I do know a great US site, Honey Bee Suite – http://www.honeybeesuite.com – Rusty really knows her stuff and has a great sense of humour too.

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      • Nicole Brait Says:

        Hi Emily,

        I checked out Honey Bee Suite. It does look like it has a lot of information. I also did some more looking and found an article in Mother Earth News about bee keeping. Again I don’t know much about keeping bees so it’s hard for me to say if they are giving us good information but in general I find Mother Earth News is a publication whose information is accurate and informative. This is the link to the article</ They also suggest going to http://www.beeculture.com to find a local beekeeping club.

        On trehugger.com I also found this article and video about keeping bees. Again, it’s hard for me to know if the info is accurate but I find treehugger to be a reliable source.

        I’m thinking I may actually write a follow-up post about all of this.

        One final thing, if I can ask a favor, would you mind replying with the UK suppliers? Some may ship to the US plus I’ve got a few followers in other countries in Europe.

        Thank you.

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  3. Jean-François Says:

    Wow, it never occurred to me that you could raise bees in the city. I’m pretty sure they won’t let us do this on the balcony in our current building, but it’s certainly one more argument in favor of getting a yard and putting it to good use. Thanks for sharing.

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