Urban Beekeeping

MOTHER's children article showcases a fearless 14 year old girl who raises honeybees along with her family in their downtown second-floor city apartment in Baltimore.

| May/June 1988

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    "I like to play with bees, letting them eat drops of honey on my finger or just crawl around on my hand.”

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MOTHER'S CHILDREN: A 14-year-old raises honeybees in downtown Baltimore and shares her urban beekeeping knowledge of caring for these environmentally essential creatures. 

MOTHER knows that many youths undertake interesting, original projects and start their own small businesses. To support these endeavors, we buy and publish well-written articles from children and teenagers concerning their efforts. However, we recommend that all young authors query (that is, send us a letter telling about the story they'd like to do) before writing a full article. Send your queries to MOTHER's Children, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. 

Urban Beekeeping

I've shared half my life with honeybees. For seven years, my family has kept bees on the back porch of our second-floor city apartment. Even though we live in the city and may have as many as half a million bees busily flying in and out of our 12 hives, the peaceful insects seldom bother us or our neighbors.

Bee Beginnings

The love of beekeeping is contagious: You get it from other beekeepers. In our case, it was my grandfather who first caught "bee fever" and then spread it to the rest of our family. Grandpa learned the skill in order to increase the production of his country orchard and garden. (Bees pollinate many fruit and vegetable crops. Indeed, the pollination services of honeybees are so valuable that many farmers rent bee colonies to fertilize their crops.)

Then Grandpa took my dad to a short course on bees, and Dad got so fascinated by the little critters that he finally talked the family into letting him get some. After that, we went to a meeting of the local beekeepers' association and all got hooked. (If you're interested in finding out about beekeeper meetings in your area, try calling your local agricultural extension service or state university.)

Many people don't want to deal with honeybees because they're afraid of getting stung. Honeybees are really quite gentle. They sting to protect their home or to retaliate when someone swats at them, but, usually, if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. When a bee starts flying around you, just stand still, and nothing will happen.

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