Stephen Sottong

Stephen Sottong

writer, beekeeper, webmaster, programmer 

Beekeeping

You might not think of insects as complex, interesting creatures, but bees definitely are. We've kept hives for the last seven years and the more I learn about them, the more I realize there is to learn about them. These social creatures have a complex life cycle and a range of behaviors that are still being discovered and investigated. Bees are industrious and gentle if not provoked.

If you go into beekeeping just for the honey, you'll end up with some of the most expensive honey you've ever tasted. It will probably also be the most exquisite honey you've ever tasted since it will be fresh and unprocessed. If you decide to take up beekeeping it should be because you are fascinated with the insects and want to ensure local pollination. The honey (if you get any) is a side benefit. In 2012, July was heavily overcast, so we didn't get a honey harvest; however, we did get lots of raspberries, apples, veggies and flowers.

Hobby beekeeping is becoming more popular so it should be easy to find other beekeepers in your area or local groups that encourage beekeeping. I co-teach a course in beginning beekeeping through Humboldt State extension. If beekeeping is still illegal in your city, petition to have the ordinances revised. Eureka recently passed an excellent beekeeping ordinance and I have the permit number 1 for the hives.