Summer and bees, a great combination. Let’s hear what urban beekeeper Erica has been up to the past weeks.
“It’s been a while since I have written anything here. I guess it’s what you get when you take two very busy months, and add a holiday as a bonus. It all takes up quite some time. Especially since going away on holiday requires a thorough preparation of my beehives. I wanted them to be completely holiday-proof.
“At first, it seemed as if I would not be able to harvest any honey before my holiday. The spring was too cold at first, then too dry. But my ladies have given it their all and produced some honey in the end. So I was able to fill a few jars already.
“During my holiday, it was nice to be away for a while. But I couldn’t help spending some time on bees anyway. My first stop was in Berlin, a lovely, green, bee-friendly city.
“Whenever I’m in Berlin, I like to go to the Princessgardens. This is a project at Moritzplats in Kreuzberg. The garden is like a green bubble in the city, and a big part of the urban gardening movement. It’s one of my favourite places in Berlin.
“And of course, wherever I go, I’m always keeping an eye (and nose) out to see what is flowering there. In Rügen, we saw some amazing, giant linden trees that were full of bees, bumblebees and other insects. Right next to the trees were large fields of Phacelia, which we call “bees meal” in Dutch. A perfect place for insects!
“Right before our holiday, I had put a beehive on my roof. It was an experiment, and a very exciting one at that. Mostly so because right after that, we got the hottest days of the whole month of July. It was amazing how the bees coped with that! They haven’t even lounged outside the hives, but kept it cool inside by vibrating with their wings. It made so much noise that I got quite troubled about it! But the men (drones) did a great job with their big wings. So in the end, they survived surprisingly well.
“I have to say that having bees on the roof took some getting used to. Both for my family and for the bees. Since, in the beginning, they used as much as half of the rooftop terrace for their approach route, we had to make some adjustments. Luckily it got better after some shuffling around.
And where my rooftop-bees will go to forage? I don’t know yet, but I’m really curious. Hopefully we’ll find out from the honey soon enough. Maybe there will even be a hint of the oregano from my herb garden in it!