KETR

Back-Porch Beekeepers Take Honey Hyperlocal

Oct 2, 2011
Originally published on October 2, 2011 9:44 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

In many parts of the country, autumn marks the start of the honey-farming season, as beekeepers prepare their hives for the harsh winter months. And as WEEKEND EDITION food commentator Bonny Wolf has found, beekeeping is increasingly becoming a do-it-yourself adventure.

BONNY WOLF: Another reason people keep bees is that they're really interesting. A healthy hive has about 50,000 honeybees, most of them infertile females who spend their short lives working for the greater good - nectar gathering, hive tending, larvae-sitting - your worker bees. A few hundred males, called drones, hang around waiting to mate with the queen, the one fertile female who spends her life laying eggs. After their date, the drone dies. It's no picnic being queen either. After she's laid her last egg, she is ripped to death. Bees have some fun though. They dance. The round dance in a figure eight called the waggle. These moves tell other bees where to find the good flowers. All this makes beekeeping attractive to kids, a nice family activity with space suits. Some people keep bees because it's so Zen. Beekeepers use words like meditative, calming, contemplative. Nothing wrong with a little serenity, and sweetness, in a chaotic world.

CORNISH: Bonny Wolf is working on a book about the foods of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.