By Margaret Sloan, Sunset production coordinator

Ryan Casey, consultant for Team Bee, helps us set up the hives.

To sweeten our One-Block Diet with honey, we’re taking up beekeeping. Honeybees, or rather the mysterious disappearance of honeybees (often called Colony Collapse Disorder), have been in the news recently. Bees are under serious threat these days, so it is nice that we can (hopefully) help bees and also harvest the sweet golden goodness that these buzzy little insects make.

We just received all our beekeeping equipment. We now have things like smokers, brood boxes, supers, and queen excluders. I was a little daunted by the list of gear; it seemed so complicated. But once our consultant, Ryan Casey — our former test garden coordinator and an experienced beekeeper — explained everything, it seemed quite simple. Of course, this is all sans bees. We don’t have them yet. A beekeeper in Grass Valley is raising some for us and we’ll go collect them in May.

In the mean time, we’re all learning as much as we can about bees. We watched a terrific movie by Nova, called Tales from the Hive. The photography is stunning, and you’ll find you may think differently about bees after watching it. We found the DVD at a local library, but it’s available to buy on Amazon.

Team Leader, Kimberley Burch (the Queen Bee!) has been doing a lot of research and has been sending the rest of Team Bee websites to check out.

The following two sites are for local Bay Area Beekeepers organizations. They have lots of information and links to many great sites about bees. (This is the site of the Beekeepers Guild of San Mateo County. These kind folks are advising us.)

I also read a q&a on the American Bee Journal website, and it made raising bees seemed daunting again. Seems like there are all kinds of critters — not just bears — who like bees: mites, moths, raccoons, even skunks!

Poor bees. They seem so fragile. No wonder they sting; it’s the only protection they’ve got.

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