The trend of urban-keeping is all of the rage in Australia right now- and rightfully so! Not only is it a great way to help the environment, but managing a beehive can be a fun way to engage with your local community. Best of all: Free fresh honey!
Sounds like a pretty good idea, right? Our team at Good & Fugly thinks so too. But before you get ready to take the sweet plunge into at home beekeeping, there are some factors you have to consider beforehand to ensure your hive will be as successful as possible. Here are the basics: what kind of hive to get, where to place it, how to take care of your bees, and how to harvest honey. Read on for all the details.
Choosing a location
Location is the first and most important choice; where you place your urban hive will determine whether or not it's successful. You need to choose a spot that:
- Is protected from strong winds and direct sunlight (both of which can be extremely detrimental for bees)
- Has access to large amounts of public foot traffic (bees love nothing more than to make new friends!)
- Is easy for you to access (remember, they require regular maintenance and checkups).
Choosing a beehive
Once you've chosen a location, the next step is to buy a beehive. Urban hives can come ready made or as do it yourself kits. Ready made hives can be cheap but can also lack style- so if you want your hive to look good as well as function well, consider making it yourself or having a professional do it for you.
Making sure your bees are happy and healthy
After installing the hive, check on them regularly to ensure they have everything they need to thrive. You can do this by:
- Check for signs of disease and pests (which you can eliminate through natural remedies such as soap sprays).
- Make sure there is enough honey in the hive to survive the winter. Urban bees must work just as hard as rural bees, so if there isn't enough food stockpiled, their population is at risk.
- Remember to maintain the temperature of your hive throughout all seasons (which you can do by using a heat lamp during cold periods). Urban bees need their hive at a steady 36 degrees celsius.
Once the hive is fully established, the final step is harvesting your honey. Urban beekeepers are allowed to take up to 10 kg of honey from their hives per season. If you choose organic bees, there's even more incentive for harvesting your crop later in the year, as making honey with organic pollen benefits your health!
If managed correctly, urban beekeeping can be a fantastic way to harvest fresh, pure honey and support the growth of your local community. Urban bees are just as effective in pollination as their rural counterparts, so they're an environmental win-win.