Backyard beekeeping in Edmonton

I’m officially a beekeeper! The bees arrived from New Zealand today and Matt and I installed them this afternoon.

For those who just want to watch a video of us installing our package of bees, here you go:

Matt and I took an urban beekeeping course at the John Jantzen Nature Centre last October, taught by local bee guru Dustin Bajer. It was a long winter of waiting for spring to finally arrive in Edmonton so that we could get started on our beekeeping adventure. The recent dumps of snow were not encouraging, either – I’m so glad today was warm and sunny, perfect for setting up our new hive.

Over the last week, Matt finished building the hive: a Warre-Langstroth hybrid. The design is very similar to the beehives that Dustin makes. After learning about all the different types of hives as well as Dustin’s rationale for his model, we decided to go with a similar version. It was also a chance for Matt to work on his woodworking skills and I think he did an awesome job for his first major project:

Warre-Langstroth hybrid beehive Edmonton urban beekeeping
Our DIY beehive. We’ll be planting lots of green things around it.

I’ve been having strange beekeeping dreams for a few months now. Dreams where I’m installing my hive in various random, logic-defying places – totally my unconscious mind trying to work through my trepidation and nervousness about this new hobby. I’m happy to report that everything went quite smoothly: our bees seem to be making themselves at home and we didn’t get stung.

Actually, I’ve never been stung by a bee before – only by a wasp (twice) – and I know it’s only a matter of time. I’m curious and admittedly a bit nervous to find out what it’s like, especially because my name – Melissa – means honeybee. It would be the height of irony if it turns out I react badly. But hey! Worth giving it a shot.

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