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How Beekeeping Works

By: Dave Roos

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Author's Note: How Beekeeping Works

I was once stung by the beekeeping bug. At the time, I was a part-time organic vegetable farmer, raising and selling veggies at our local farmer's market. As part of my back-to-the-earth ethos, I wanted to produce my own honey. A beekeeping friend told me about a neighbor who died and left behind boxes and boxes of active hives. Did I want one? I immediately went out and bought a full bee suit, smoker and hive tool. Excited, we drove my friend's truck into the backwoods of Pennsylvania to pick up my new hive. The boxes were stacked in an overgrown field and a storm was rolling in. The bees were none too happy to see us. They stung every tiny patch of bare skin they could find and buzzed angrily as we loaded them into the truck. The rain poured down so heavily that we couldn't get them all the way to my garden, so my friend offered to babysit them until I could come back and relocate them to their permanent home. They never left his place, and my suit never again made it out of the box. Homemade honey, I decided, tastes just as good when it comes from someone else's home.

Special thanks to Mark Bedillion of Bedillion Honey Farm in Pennsylvania for his expert advice on the art and science of beekeeping.

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