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Venise’s Blog: Beekeeping 101

Keeping a beehive and harvesting my own honey has been something I have wanted to do ever since the beekeeping store, The Bees in the ‘Burbs, moved into a building right next to my work the Millwork Outlet, and since I saw the movie The Secret Life Of Bees. I am a sucker for all things southern and for some reason I have always considered beekeeping to be quintessentially southern.  Yesterday, the Bees in the ‘Burbs posted on their Facebook page that they had purchased some baby chicks and of course I couldn’t resist the cute vibes that were traveling over the fence and into our office so I took a late afternoon break and headed over to say, “hi” to our new neighbors and chat with Norm and Natalie, the beekeepers.

Norm Holcomb, owner of Bees in the ‘Burbs is a retired contractor who decided his body simply couldn’t keep up with the heavy lifting and constant bending required to install metal roofing. As an avid beekeeper he decided to share his passion with the rest of the world, or at least the greater Seattle area and open a bee shop. He runs the store along side his two daughters and wife and adorable Boston Terrier, Dominic. Bees in the ‘Burbs is housed in a cute little white building where they sell honey, bee gifts, gardening supplies and everything you would ever need to start and maintain beehives. Additionally, Norm makes house calls with his bee trailer and helps beginning bee keepers maintain their beehives.

In addition to letting me hold their adorable baby chicks, Norm showed me around the shop and even took me out to see the bee hives. Since it was a sunny day the bees were extra active doing their honey thing! I talked to Norm about what it takes to get a beehive started and here are a few of his helpful hints:

  • The best time to get a beehive started is NOW. Anytime between late March to early May. 
  • You should plan to wait at least a year before you will get a honey harvest.
  • Even if you aren’t getting honey right away, the bees will begin pollinating right away so you will get instant benefits in your garden and you will be helping bring bees back to your neighborhood.
  • To start a new hive with no existing supplies the average cost is approximately $600.
  • The cost to maintain a hive can be anywhere between $50-$100 per year..
  • Do your research and if you can enlist the help of an experienced beekeeper before you get started so you don’t kill your bees and have to start all over again.

After talking with Norm about beekeeping and all the health benefits of raw honey I am even more convinced that I want to get a beehive set up in the future and when I am ready I definitely know who to call!

bees in the burbs
Norm and Natalie of Bees in the ‘Burbs
Bee Hives
The beehives were very busy today.
Bee suit
Bee Suits
Beeswax candles
Candles hand poured from Beeswax.
Bee Pollen
Bee pollen helps with allergies.
Baby Chick
Bees n the burbs
Natalie with her baby chick.
Jars of Honey
Jars of delicious honey.
Honey makes great wedding favors
My baby chick friend for the day

The "garden" behind the garden to glass cocktails, Venise is the resident farmer of the Simple Goodness Farm, older sister and goat lover.

One Comment

  • Cheri

    Okay. When and if you become a beekeeper I have to bring Michael out to learn about them. He has developed a serious bee phobia since his wasp stings last summer while camping. He is terrified. I think if he actually sees someone he knows tending to bees without fear he may get past this. He helped Mike build a mason bee box 2 years ago and we actually have some living in it:) In recent years we have seen a decline in the bee population so we wanted to encourage the good ones. I believe going into the honey production would be so worth it!

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