Native sources can assist city beekeepers get began, »Albuquerque Journal

Bees on the honeycomb of a beehive by Phill Remick. Remick ends his e-mails with the cancellation: “Bee sees you.” (Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Ever heard of urban beekeeping? It’s a pastime some New Mexicans buzz about because it allows them to be part of the honey-making process while spending time in their own backyards.

Phill Remick wears a beekeeper hat and veil to protect him from bees, which he believes sting less than most people think.  He keeps these hives in another homeowner's yard a few miles away;  in return he gives them fresh honey in bottles.  Remick teaches beekeeping.  (Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal)

Phill Remick wears a beekeeper hat and veil to protect him from bees, which he believes sting less than most people think. He keeps these hives in another homeowner’s yard a few miles away; in return he gives them fresh honey in bottles. Remick teaches beekeeping. (Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal)

This is the time of year when the people of Albuquerque can acquire the skills to partake in this hobby that allows people to make their own honey and beeswax.

Urban beekeeping is not a one-day DIY project. Rather, it’s about getting bees – a queen, some drones, and a slew of worker bees – in a kit that is often ordered through the mail. Then the bees have to be placed on the plastic-lined wooden frames and sold by local apiaries. The honeycomb-shaped plastic in the middle becomes a honeycomb.

………………………………………….. …………..

The frames go into a wooden box that becomes a beehive. Once the setup is complete, the bees start making honey: they collect nectar from plants of the southwest such as catalpa trees, red buds, and Russian sage. They throw out the honey that has stuck to the honeycomb and seal the openings with wax.

Then a beekeeper – novice or professional – comes for the final steps: the wax is cut into slices, the honey is extruded, and then it can be bottled for use, and the wax can also be collected for different projects.

Several organizations encourage people in the city to learn about beekeeping as a hobby and create their own facilities with no more than three beehives in their backyard.

One of them is NewBeeRescue.com, run by beekeeper and apiary consultant Phill Remick, who has been dedicated to beekeeping since 1972. “That’s all I do is keep bees,” he said during an interview at his home in the northern valley.

A back room is set up as a classroom for the students he teaches, about 50 a year, he estimates. Topics covered: turning the wooden slats into honeycombs, acquiring bees and creating a modern beehive that delivers honey at the end of the bee season, which runs from March to September or October.

Some fun facts his students could learn as he walked them through the process of setting up a beehive:

  • Queen bees lay 1,800 eggs a day,
  • A brood (also known as an egg) hatches every 21 days.
  • 30,000 bees form a colony or beehive.
  • Worker bees bring in water from the foliage and then vomit it back into the beehive to keep it at a roasted degree of 93 degrees.
  • The queen bee, who is in charge of the entire operation, is larger than the other bees and more translucent in color
  • It is not recommended to set up a beehive all over the place. (For example, there is a no-no near the neighbor’s pool.)

“I have a lot of people who just try it out,” said Remick. “The majority of people who want to care for bees are working women.”

Another program is the Certified Beekeeping Education Program, which began this year and is offered by the New Mexico Beekeepers Association and the City of Albuquerque.

As a two-year program leading to certification, it teaches backyard beekeeping with an emphasis on responsibility and best practices. It started on May 10th and will last until August 9th.

“This gets people through the bee season and teaches them how to start their hives, how to manage their hives and how to prepare for winter,” said Susan Clair, program coordinator. “We’ll start again in March or April (next year) – we’ll have a different set of classes” in 2015 that will make up level 2, and there will also be a repeat of level 1 for a new round of participants . She said.

“From now on there will be a Level 1 and a Level 2 every year,” she said, adding that there is room for 26 participants to start next year, even though this year’s class is already full.

The program, which costs $ 250, is taught by experienced beekeepers.

Comments are closed.