So off I go. Well, really, I was supposed to leave earlier, but what with the crazy weather (snow at the end of May) and the lack of organization on my part, I departed Calgary at 5:30 AM on the 28th of May. The plan? To make it to Colorado to work at the backyardhive.com, a commercial Top-Bar hive (TBH) outfit to learn what I need to know to support the growing colony of urban TBH beekeepers in Calgary. I am going on my way in hopes that I will be able to answer the coming questions on harvesting and over wintering. It is really exciting to run away, and to meet people passionate about beekeeping, and going at it in a whole new way. The world is changing, and our methods of earthcare and people care need to change with it too! Industrial methods of beekeeping are not working, lets do something different.
Top-bar beekeeping is not new, it actually is a method of beekeeping done in Africa known as either Kenyan or Tanzanian beehives. These mimic a fallen over log and allow the bees to dominate the organization of their hives and also the size and shape of their combs. This is what makes it work. Letting the bees be wild is what is going to save them, at least that is my hope. I believe that it is the very act of industrial domestication which is fuelling their depreciating numbers. Millions of years in evolution, and now, with our macro food systems, importing and exporting, chemicals, production targets, and bottom lines, something has to give out.
Honeybees are an environmental indicator, not unlike amphibians. Their health and numbers resonate with the health of the ecosystem. With the success of urban apiaries, I believe that we can use bees as indicators of urban ecosystems, ensuring that the city creates and maintains a capacity to sustain life.
This trip to Colorado means a lot to me. I don’t have a strong relationship with Corwin and Lacey of Backyard hive….yet…. but I am eager to take action, to build community, and to connect with intelligent and eager minds. So, as I sit here on my sisters couch in Billings MT at 1:23 in the morning, I am itching with anticipation to see what the future brings!