Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Conversation Pieces

Before setting the hives up this spring, I checked with my immediate neighbors to make sure they were ok living so close to bees. I checked with them again a couple times over the summer, too, to make sure they weren't being pestered. They all gave me an enthusiastic "thumbs up."

Recently, though, I've run into a number of neighbors out for walks. Turns out that they've all noticed the hives from the street, but they weren't sure what they were. One person thought I might have been raising guinea pigs.

Once I explain that I'm keeping bees, everyone becomes very interested. Most of them strongly encourage "saving the honeybees." My favorite comment came from a visitor who told me, "Now when I see a bee in my yard, I will know it's yours and say 'hello' to it."

Nearly everyone wants to take a peek at the bees, and they're all extremely impressed by the hive and how prolific the girls are. Also, one thing people seem to really respond to is the natural comb. People who've seen hives are used to comb built on foundation. This type of comb has to fit the pattern machine-printed onto the foundation. As a result, it's very regular and orderly. By contrast, natural comb takes whatever shape the bees want to build, so it has a more organic, sculpted quality. At any rate, everyone who sees it is amazed by the bees' ability to build such beautiful, straight comb all on their own without any "help."

Large-celled comb that will be used for drones or honey

When I decided to keep bees in suburbia, one of the reasons I chose a KTBH was that it doesn't look like a hive. It looks like some sort of birdhouse (or guinea pig cage, apparently). I figured this hive style would be less likely to freak out passersby. Turns out that I was worried for nothing. Instead, the bees have turned into a great way to meet the people in my neighborhood and spread a bit of good honeybee PR.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Patrick, and for encouraging feedback! Cheers!

  2. Julie,

    Hey do you mind telling me how much land you own? I'm on 1.15 and new regulations are being put into place in NJ that may effect how many hives I can keep. In pictures you've posted it looks to me as if you have 6 hives. NJ is proposing only 2 hives and 1 nuc but only for 30 days to control swarms. Thinking of asking for a waiver up front becuase I rather not be so limited. So glad you and Don got to meet. From the comments you share with us I would have thought you where neighbors at one time.

    1. Hi, Mavis! My yard is just shy of one acre. I have 4 full-size hives and 4 nucs at present.

      I'm very curious about the new law being proposed in NJ. Is it just for property zoned residential? Does it depend on your acreage? I'm quite curious because there is a small chance at present that we might move to NJ in the very near future. My husband just had his 2nd interview with a company in Bridgewater today, actually. If you have any more info on that, I'd be interested in hearing more.

      Yes, I'm so glad that Don and I got to meet in person. Maybe if we move back to Jersey, we can meet up, too! :-)


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