Through the increasing demand for high-quality nutritious foods grown on boutique farms, beekeeping has developed a new-found popularity.
For some it’s simply enjoying fresh food. For others, it is about protecting and nurturing these vital pollinators that annually fertilize our crops and gardens.
Still others enjoy the old-fashioned idea of beekeeping and turning their hobby into something exotic. In either case hives are increasingly finding their way into suburban spaces and backyards.
Swedish beekeeper Joachim Petter, who learned the tradition of beekeeping from his great-uncle, has written Beekeeping, an easy-to-read, multifaceted book for first-time beekeepers and those exploring the idea of setting up a hive.
The 191-page read offers insights into everything bee-related: types of bees, planting a friendly garden, pollination and ecological balance, building and trouble-shooting a hive, harvesting honey and overwintering.
Most importantly Petter discusses these matriarchal led colonies, their biology and how the bees interact with each other and their environment – crucial knowledge for any beekeeper.
Petter believes bees are the world’s greatest natural resource and their importance to our existence cannot be underestimated especially with recent increases in North American colony collapse.
The book’s tone, however, is hopeful and he regales the reader with first-hand experiences and insights on his family and how they have incorporated honey into their lives in cooking, baking, salves and even skin cream.
Caring for bees rewards Petter with more than just honey. Just spending time around these insect workers is contemplative and therapeutic.
For anyone looking for a hobby to help save the world or add sweet confections to the menu, Beekeeping offers some surprising and penetrating observations that offer a great start.
By Joachim Petterson
Simon & Schuster Canada
With cities opening up their bylaws to allow backyard beekeeping, courses are now available in Edmonton.
• Edmonton Public Schools Metro Continuing Education Program offers a two-level beekeeping series. It is an essential step in understanding honeybee biology, seasonal behaviour, swarming, overwintering and life cycles. Tuition is $150 for two courses. Call 780-428-1111 or visit metrocontinuingeducation.ca.
• Edmonton District Beekeepers’ Association also offers mentoring sessions on three Saturdays: March 25, April 22 and May 13. For more information contact Malcolm Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org.