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Author Topic: Urban Bee Keeping
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  Marty
  Chicago, IL/Collegeville, MN
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Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jun 22 '07 at 08:23 UTC)

I've recently started a good size vegtable garden at my home in Chicago (technically my mom and aunts' house) and plan to expand it next year. I was wondering what anyone would have to say about including a single beehive. I really know nothing about bee keeping, things like costs and what not, but I thought this would be an alright place to start. Any info would be helpful

I go to school in Collegeville, outside St. Cloud, MN but summer at my home on the south side of Chicago
 rumirunto
 Santa Cruz
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jun 22 '07 at 08:30 UTC)

I have two hives in my backyard, on my 2,000 square feet lot. My neighbors all know about it and like it, since they get excelent free honey once in a while. I'm in an "unincorporated" area, so there are no laws here against hives in backyards, but I understand that some cities do not allow bees in residential neighborhoods.

As long as your area allows it, I think it's a great idea and I'd say go for it!

 Marty
 Chicago, IL/Collegeville, MN
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jun 22 '07 at 09:00 UTC)

I live in a mid-density part of the city (single family homes very close together) but with ample trees, gardens, etc. I however am still in school and live with my mother and two aunts who may not be so keen having an aviary in the yard. How small can I make a hive, even it it's just for learning purposes and not very productive.

I go to school in Collegeville, outside St. Cloud, MN but summer at my home on the south side of Chicago
 Marty
 Chicago, IL/Collegeville, MN
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jun 22 '07 at 09:05 UTC)

and I just noticed I mispelled apiary

I go to school in Collegeville, outside St. Cloud, MN but summer at my home on the south side of Chicago
 rumirunto
 Santa Cruz
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Sat, Jun 23 '07 at 07:01 UTC)

It depends on what part of the country you're in. If you have cold winters, then you'll need space for your bees to store enough honey to last them for the winter.

If it doesn't get too cold where you are, you could handle a small hive. You'll still need at the least one tall brood box and one honey super, with a queen excluder in between. Bees need space and without enough space for them to grow a "healthy" colony, they will swarm more often. If you have a small hive, like what I describe above, you'll have to be more careful with managing it.

 Ellendra
 Madison
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jun 29 '07 at 05:32 UTC)

Its possible to make a 1-frame observation hive, if you want to go really small, but you'd have to make sure it doesn't get chilled since there wouldn't be enough bees to keep it warm.

If you look up top-bar hives you can find lots of info on small, non-standard hives.

 alwayslooking
 chicago
Re: Urban Bee Keeping    (Posted Fri, Jul 6 '07 at 09:09 UTC)

Marty -
You should contact Growing Power in Milwaukee to see if they are having one of their beekeeping workshops. Google them. They may be open to you visiting their farmer training facility and seeing their hives. They are well versed in urban beekeeping.

Also, there may still be beekeeping workshops at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. I think some sort of face-to-face education (rather than via books or internet) will get many of your questions answered, as well as build confidence. Check out Chicago Honey Co-op too. Urban honey can be the best there is (flavorful). Best of luck!

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