Bees: You know you want some

Enough with the whining about Chicago’s winter (although gee, I sure wish I could see the sun today)! Use these days to plan for the warm ones ahead. They’ll get here. Eventually.

I think a great distraction from winter is bees, becoming a beekeeper. Because that is something you can do, keep honeybees in the city, with great results. But, you have to know what you are doing. Here are two options to get you started and make you forget about the fact more snow is on the horizon:

  • Heard about this from a Facebook friend. The Chicago Honey Co-Op holds beekeeping classes in January (oops, missed that) and February as well as in May and June. But by then, you’ll want to be outdoors, so I say if you’re thinking of this, take the class now. The next one is Feb. 1, which is Saturday. They are from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and lunch is potluck. (I love potlucks; may sign up just for the lunch. But I digress.) Here’s a link to the Co-Op’s website with more information for signing up. 
  • One of the things the Co-Op recommends is that any potential students read a book on beekeeping beforehand. They suggest one, but I will mention another that just landed on my desk: “The Rooftop Beekeeper” by Brooklyn-based Megan Paska. Paska shares with readers her story of how she got into beekeeping and takes you through her journey. She offers sensible advice and solution. And, at the end she has some lovely recipes for using the honey your bees will produce and formulas for beauty products, salves and beeswax candles. BTW, Paska mentions that if you want to see production this spring/summer season you want to have your equipment all ready to go by late March. So using her timetable, sign up for a class now!

— Sue Ontiveros

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