Urban Beekeeping: The story begins...
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Mojgan watering her gardenBee and the onion This is a photographic essay on urban beekeeping as experienced by my separated spouse Mojgan.  I have observed from the beginning how she expressed interest in raising honey bees with the symbiotic tie-in to her gardening interests.  I personally came from a background of being slightly leery of bees after a childhood incident in which myself and two of my brothers were attacked by a swarm of bumble bees after playing around on some rusty farm equipment, not realizing there was a hive underneath. Fast forward about 30 years, and now I am getting an opportunity to be exposed and educated on bees on a more physical and mature basis.  The first thing one realizes who is new to this area is how important it is to understand the psychology of bees and how they work together in a colony.  It is also important to distinguish some of the basic differences between species (don't make the mistake to lump them in with wasps and hornets), some more benign and beneficial than others.  Honey bees are categorized as pollinators, which tend to be focused on gathering nectar and maintaining their hive, while others can be more predatory such as yellow jacket wasps and not considered as positive (although the do play a role in cleaning up as scavengers).  The more knowledgeable gardeners categorize honey bees and like pollinators as "beneficial insects" (along with many other species) and understand their value to the garden and agriculture for pollination as a whole, encouraging their presence or even importing them to improve the productivity of their crops.

Bringing back the honeyFrom a selfish human point of view, another important thing to know about honey bees is that they do not intend you any harm; that is unless you disturb their hive.  Disturbing implies moving or jostling the hive once they have established it as a home. Thus it is typically okay to approach a hive within a few feet and observe them without any threat of being stung.  This is especially true for more domesticated hives that are more accustomed to humans versus those found in the wild.  The biggest hazard is avoiding their flyway out of the hive that they use on their way to various foraging areas.  If you get caught up in it, one could accidently fly into your hair, and if you jostle around too much trying to get the bee off, you could get stung.  But keep in mind, the bee was just minding its business and you did the equivalent of jumping into the middle of a road with fast moving cars zooming by you in both directions.

 Examples of some other beneficial pollinators
Beneficial wasp
Beneficial wasp
Carpenter bee
Carpenter bee
Native bee mating
Can't you see I'm working
Bird or a bee?
Is that a bird or a bee?

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